Westmeath ladies through to Croke Park showdown

Limerick 1-07 Westmeath 1-10

Limerick 1-07 Westmeath 1-10

Westmeath overturned a five-point half-time deficit against Limerick in today’s TG4 All-Ireland intermediate ladies football semi-final to set up a September 25 final meeting with Cavan at Croke Park.

Westmeath will contest a first All-Ireland final since the 1987 senior decider against Kerry when they make a landmark appearance at GAA HQ later this month.

Westmeath upped the ante after half-time and in the second half, the winners outscored last year’s All-Ireland junior champions by 1-7 to 0-2.

Limerick were over-reliant on the sharpshooting skills of leading forward Dymphna O’Brien, who scored 1-6 for the Shannonsiders, all but one point of her side’s entire tally.

But in the second half, with Limerick trailing by just a point at the time, 1-5 to 1-6, O’Brien received a harsh yellow card and spent ten minutes in the sin bin.

During that spell, Westmeath reeled off four unanswered points to move into a 1-10 to 1-5 advantage.

O’Brien returned to kick Limerick’s first score of the second half, in the 56th minute, before she added another score from play before the finish.

But Westmeath held out for a merited three-point win to cap an impressive turnaround.

At the break, they trailed by 0-3 to 1-5, having also lost the services of midfielder Maud Anne Foley to a yellow card in the first half.

O’Brien’s 26th minute goal handed Limerick a 1-4 to 0-1 advantage, their biggest lead of the game, and Westmeath were without a score for almost 25 minutes before Emma Morris popped over a 28th minute free.

Foley, sin-binned in the 18th minute, kicked two crucial second half frees for Westmeath while the performance of centre forward Ruth Kearney, who bagged three points from play, was hugely impressive.

Scorers for Limerick: D O’Brien 1-6 (0-5f), S McAuliffe 0-1.

Scorers for Westmeath: E Morris 1-1 (0-1f), R Kearney 0-3, M.A. Foley 0-2f, E Finn, J Maher, L Walsh & K Hegarty 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: M Giltenane; C Hickey, S Healy, A Neary; T Mulcaire, E McGuire, C Sheehy; Y Moynihan, N Richardson; S Moloney, M Flanagan, K Colbert; S McAuliffe, D O’Brien, J O’Gorman.

Subs: K Campbell for Moloney (36), J Garvey for Flanagan (50), C Davis for O’Gorman (50), J Stokes for Mulcaire (60+1).

WESTMEATH: G Leahy; T Durkan, G Kearney, C Finch; K Boyce Jordan, J Rogers, M Malone; M.A. Foley, F Claffey; E Finn, R Kearney, J Maher; E Morris, K Somers, L Walsh.

Subs: A Martin for Finch (30+1), K Hegarty for Morris (42), A Brady for Jordan (53).

Referee: L McDonagh (Sligo)

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