Denis Hurley, O’Connor Park, Tullamore
A LATE burst which yielded two goals and a point ensured that Laois claimed the Camogie National League Division Three title at Donaghmore Ashbourne, Co Meath on Sunday.
The visitors, who never trailed in this game, always looked strong, and displayed a brilliant defensive performance to keep Meath out when this game was in the balance, with goalkeeper Laura Dunne pulling off some fine saves.
The accuracy from placed balls of midfielder Louise Mahony was also a great asset to Laois, while Sarah-Anne Fitzgerald was another who excelled, full of industry and creativity at right half-forward.
While Meath did threaten to overturn their opponents after a penalty from full-forward Jane Dolan soon after the start of the second half, ultimately they came up short, though this was not for the want of trying on the part of Elizabeth Lynch.
In the first half, Mahony ensured that Laois would stayed in front, as she shot three points to leave them 0-7 to 0-3 ahead at the break, the Royals unable to get enough territory to come any closer to their rivals.
Nine minutes into the second half though, they were handed a lifeline when Dolan fired her penalty to the net to close the gap, but two Laois points, from Mahony and Fitzgerald settled them to keep them in front, 0-9 to 1-5, as the last 10 minutes loomed.
Then came the clinching scores. First Eimear Delaney raised a green flag after a great move, Aine Mahony registered a point and Niamh Dollard also goaled, to extend their lead to seven points with time almost up.
Sinead Hackett did eventually breach the Laois defence to score a second goal for Meath, but the lead was always going to be difficult to overhaul, and Laois held out to claim the title.
Scorers – Laois: L Mahony 0-4 (0-2f, 0-1 45), A Mahony 0-3, E Delaney, N Dollard 1-0 each, SA Fitzgerald 0-2, T Cuddy 0-1.
Meath: J Dolan 1-1 (1-0 penalty, 0-1f), S Hackett 1-0, E Lynch 0-2, L Donoghue, A Maguire 0-1 each.
LAOIS: l Dunne; R Birmingham, E Moynan, B Cuddy; M Hogan, C Phelan, D Quigley; L Mahony, S Moylan; SA Fitzgerald, E Mahony, E Delaney; A Mahony, T Cuddy, N Dollard.
Sub: P Parkinson for Delaney.
MEATH: E Managan; M Keogh, A Thompson, E Guy; H Geraghty, K Troy, L Donoghue; A Keogh, A Donnelly; F O’Neill, A Maguire, S Hackett; E Lynch, J Dolan, L Oakes.
Sub: J Rispin for O’Neill.
Referee: O Elliott (Antrim).