Galway face the drop as Laois edge to semi-final

LAST year’s beaten Division 1 finalists Galway were relegated and Laois claimed a place in this year’s semi-finals on a dramatic final afternoon of group fixtures in the Bord Gáis Energy Ladies NFL.

Laois and Galway drew 0-12 apiece at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise and that result was enough to leave the hosts in fourth position in Division 1 while also relegating the Tribeswomen.

Monaghan finished top of the table ahead of Cork and the Farney girls now take on Laois in the semi-finals, with holders Cork battling last year’s Division 2 champions Donegal.

In Sunday’s big Ulster derby at St Mellans Park, Truagh, hosts Monaghan produced a powerful display as they defeated Donegal by 3-14 to 1-7.

Caoimhe Mohan scored 2-5 for Monaghan as Ciara McAnespie, one of the stars of DCU’s recent O’Connor Cup success, notched the other goal for last year’s beaten Division 1 semi-finalists.

Therese McNally helped herself to four points for Monaghan, who led by 2-6 to 1-2 at half-time. Ellen McCarron (three), Natasha Mohan and Aoife McAnespie also raised white flags.

Yvonne McMonagle carried the fight to Monaghan with a personal haul of 1-6 for Donegal, including 0-5 from frees, but Gráinne Houston was the only other scorer for the outclassed visitors.

In Division 2, Sligo are relegated while Tipperary and Armagh will fight it out next weekend in a winner-takes-all survival showdown.

All-Ireland senior champions Dublin finished on top ahead of Kerry and the Sky Blues will meet fourth-placed Cavan in the semi-finals, with Kerry taking on Meath.

Waterford, 2010 All-Ireland intermediate runners-up, staved off the threat of relegation with a 4-8 to 1-8 victory away to Armagh in Killeavy. Michelle McGrath, Maria Delahunty, Aileen Wall and Sinead Ryan scored the Déise goals on a day when Michelle Ryan landed five points.

Maebh Moriarty hit Armagh’s goal and the Orchard County must now beat Tipp in the division’s outstanding game to avoid the drop.

In Division 3, Clare and Fermanagh drew 1-18 to 4-9 on Saturday in Clarecastle and in the semi-finals, table-toppers Clare will meet Wicklow while second-placed Fermanagh tackle Down.

Caroline Little scored 2-5 for Fermanagh while sister Sharon added 2-2 on an afternoon when Niamh O’Dea hit 1-8 for Clare.

As things stand, Limerick and Longford are relegated from Division 3 while in Division 4, Antrim are squeezed out of a top four finish on score difference, with table-toppers Westmeath to face Offaly and Roscommon to play Louth in the last four.

However, Ladies Football Association officials will meet on Monday to bring certainty to the relegation issue from Division 3 and the promotion picture in Division 4 as some games have been conceded recently, with scoring differences affected as a result.

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