Limerick Ladies earn promotion after seven-point win over Antrim

By Jackie Cahill in Clane

Limerick 4-8 Antrim 1-10

Captain fantastic Dymphna O’Brien inspired Limerick to Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 4 glory in Clane today.

The ace corner forward scored 2-5 as the Shannonsiders saw off Antrim by seven points to gain promotion to Division 3 for the 2016 campaign.

This was a sweet victory for Limerick, who lost Division 4 deciders most recently in 2015, 2012 and 2010.

But they finally got over the line as the sharpshooting skills of O’Brien and Niamh Holland proved crucial.

Holland scored a goal in both halves – the second of those with her first touch after a returning to the fray after a sin-binning.

Eimear Gallagher of Antrim in action against Limerick's Alva Neary. Pic: Sportsfile

During the second half, Limerick lost Holland and Megan Kelleher to yellow cards and Antrim rallied briefly with an unanswered 1-3 with those players off the pitch.

But Limerick regained their composure when Holland slammed home a fourth goal for the winners nine minutes from time and they held out for a comfortable victory.

At half-time, Limerick were well in control, leading by 2-5 to 0-4.

With the breeze at their backs in the opening half, the Treaty girls got down to business right from the start as Holland took a pass from Claire Coughlan for the game’s opening score, a goal, in the fourth minute.

Limerick’s second goal arrived in the tenth minute, O’Brien pouncing on Antrim goalkeeper Anna McCann’s error to find the net from close range.

Two minutes after the break, O’Brien took advantage of another defensive calamity in the Antrim goalmouth to tap home her second goal.

Influential midfielder Niamh Richardson added a point for Limerick and while Mairead Cooper raised a white flag for Antrim, two O’Brien frees handed Limerick a 12-point advantage – 3-8 to 0-5.

Holland was sin-binned in the 40th minute, with Kelleher following her to the line almost immediately, and Antrim took advantage with their best scoring run of the game.

Their most impressive forward, Eimear Gallagher, scored a goal with eleven minutes later but with Limerick restored to full strength, they regained the initiative.

Scorers for Limerick: D O’Brien 2-5 (0-3f), N Holland 2-0, N Richardson 0-2, S Carroll 0-1.

Scorers for Antrim: E Gallagher 1-3, C Timoney (1f) and A McParland 0-2 each, C Carey, Á Tubridy & M Cooper 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: M Giltenane; M O’Shea, A Neary, O Giltenane; K Reidy, S O’Sullivan, C Mee; N Richardson, Y Moynihan; C Coughlan, S Moloney, S Carroll; D O’Brien, L Hanley, N Holland.

Subs: M Kelleher for O’Sullivan (36), C Hickey for Carroll (36), R Delee for Coughlan (40), B Flanagan for Mee (52), E Fealy for O Giltenane (56).

ANTRIM: A McCann; S Tennyson, E Kelly, N McKeown; S Cochrane, N Kelly, J McCavana; C Carey, Á Tubridy; M Cooper, C Timoney, A McFarland; E Mallon, E Gallagher, M McCurdy.

Subs: N Cooper for Cochrane (36), A Devlin for McCurdy (40), D O’Kane for Tubridy (48), N Enright for Mallon (51).

Referee: D McEnery (Westmeath).

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