Sides must play final again after late Leitrim miss ensures draw

Westmeath 2-8 Leitrim 1-11

Westmeath 2-8 Leitrim 1-11

The Leitrim and Westmeath Ladies must do it again after an enthralling Bord Gáis Energy Ladies Football Division 3 final ended all square at Parnell Park today.

In a game littered with frees – 56 in all – Leitrim had the chance to pick up their first Division 3 title with the last kick of the game, but the otherwise outstanding Aine Tighe narrowly missed the target from an acute angle.

Substitutes Shauna Clancy and Laura O'Dowd had earlier kicked Leitrim into a two-point lead with just five minutes remaining, only for Fiona Claffey and Laura Walsh to kick the midlanders level late on.

After winning the toss and choosing to play against the wind, Westmeath got off to a great start with a fine point from play from Maud Annie Foley after three minutes.

But Leitrim, backed by a sizeable travelling contingent, hit back with two points in a minute from the outstanding Aine Tighe and Lorraine Brennan.

Leitrim continued to boss the tie, but in the seventh minute Walsh turned the game on its head with a super goal for Westmeath.

A minute later Walsh was in the thick of it once more when she set up Fiona Claffey for a point, but three on the bounce in reply from Aine Tighe drew the sides level midway through the half.

The Westmeath forward line were surviving on scraps, but their goal threat came to the fore again in the 17th minute when Elaine Finn punched to the net as the Westmeath lead pulled out to four points.

However, it would have been harsh on Leitrim to trail at the break and when Niamh Tighe rattled the net five minutes before the break and her sister Aine added a point on the cusp of half-time as the sides went in level at 1-6 to 2-3.

The second-half never lived up to the standards of the first, but after kicking seven wides that almost cost them promotion, Westmeath lived to fight another day.

Scorers

Westmeath: MA Foley (0-4, 3fs); L Walsh (1-1); E Finn (1-0); F Claffey (0-2); C Blundell (0-1);

Leitrim: A Tighe (0-8, 6fs); N Tighe (1-0); L Brennan (0-1); S Clancy (0-1); L O'Dowd (0-1)

Leitrim: M Guckian; M Stenson, E McWeeney, S Kerrigan; K Gilgunn, S Tighe, L McWeeney; S Fowley, D Ward; N Tighe, S McManus, K Keegan; L Brennan, E Farrell, A Tighe.

Subs: S Clancy for McManus, 51; L O'Dowd for Farrell, 51.

Westmeath: C Warburton; A Martin, C Finch, A Brady; K Boyce-Jordan, J Rogers, K McDermott; M.A. Foley, R Kearney; E Finn, F Claffey, J Maher; L Walsh, K Hegarty, C Blundell.

Subs: T Fagan for McDermott, 40.

Referee: Michael Henry (Monaghan)

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