Limerick 4-10 Louth 3-8
Limerick laid on a devastating display of attacking football in the second half to take the TG4 All-Ireland Junior Ladies football title at Croke Park.
Trailing by six points at the break, they turned on the power to smash Louth’s challenge.
Deadly duo Dymphna O’Brien and Maire Claire Curtin led the charge, hitting 3-10 between them as the Treaty strode confidently to a first ever title.
An evenly contested and uneventful opening 20 minutes had the sides deadlocked on two points each, with Louth’s Susan Byrne and Catherine Page trading points with Dymphna O’Brien (2).
But the Wee County struck a double blow with two goals in the space of a minute, both from full forward Anne-Marie Murphy.
First she rounded ‘keeper Catherine Murphy to plant the ball in an empty net following a neat passing movement involving Byrne and Sandra Lynch.
Moments later, Murphy was hauled down by Sandra Nealy, and slotted home the resultant penalty for a six points lead.
Just a minute later, the Treaty girls got themselves right back in contention when Marie Claire Curtin’s harmless looking 35 metre free dipped at the last moment and went straight to the net.
But Louth grabbed a third goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Kate Flood rose high to power home a fisted effort from Lynch’s free kick.
Louth led by 3-4 to 1-4 at the interval, but the Munster girls once again produced a stunning response, with Clodagh Reidy blasting home a wonderful goal after neat approach play from Curtin and Janet Garvey three minutes after the restart.
Curtin’s converted free narrowed the deficit down to a point, and they went in front for the first time in the 42nd minute when Curtin grabbed her second goal, blasting the ball to the roof of the net after O’Brien’s dipping effort had come back off the crossbar.
Limerick corner backs Maggie O’Brien and Alva Neary defended solidly and Eimear Enright and skipper Sandra Larkin established a platform at midfield as Limerick grew in confidence
Having turned a six-point deficit into a three-point lead, they were well placed to push on for victory with 10 minutes to play.
And they did just that, with O’Brien bagging her side;’s fourth goal on 61 minutes, after Reid’s firmly struck shot had come back off a post.
Louth: C Breen, A McGee, S Quinn, G Lynch, P Marmion, AM Lynch, S McDonald, O Kirk (0-2), R Heeney, S Byrne (0-1), K Flood (1-2), S Lynch, M Reid (0-1, f), AM Murphy (2-1, 1-0 pen), C Page (0-1).
Subs: G Rogers for McDonald, Grainne Mackin for Reid, Laura O’Neill for Marmion
Limerick: C Murphy, M O'Brien, S Healy, A Neary, E McGuire, Y Moynihan, P Donnelly, E Enright, S Larkin, J Garvey, M Flanagan, C Reidy (1-0), J O'Gorman, D O'Brien (1-5, 0-2f), MC Curtin (2-5, 1-4f)
Subs: Leanne Higgins for Healy, Louise Higgins for Garvey, O Giltenane for Moynihan
Referee: J Niland (Sligo).