Longford boss Diane O’Hora admitted her substitutions proved crucial in yesterday’s Bord Gáis Energy Ladies NFL Division 4 final victory over Limerick at O’Connor Park, Tullamore.
Michelle Farrell came off the bench to score the vital second-half goal and fellow sub Paula Kenny scored three points as the midlanders finally saw off the dogged challenge of Limerick to seal promotion to Division 3.
Longford, who had seven-points from Claire Greene, were a point down at half-time, 0-5 to 0-6, having dropped numerous balls short and into the hands of Limerick goalkeeper Martina Giltenane.
But Longford were far more clinical in the second-half and six unanswered points in the final 10 minutes floored the Shannonsiders, who had 1-2 from Dymphna O’Brien.
O’Hora, a former All-Ireland senior medallist with Mayo, reflected: “There were a lot of nerves in the camp before the game and we didn’t do the simple things right in the first-half, which was frustrating. Limerick worked very hard and defended very deeply — we weren’t able to cope with that.
“It took us time to get settled as well but we completely settled after five or 10 minutes in the second-half and played our normal football.
“The changes we made were crucial and came at the right time. The girls that came on did the right things.”
Limerick are consigned to another season of Division 4 football as this year, a ‘one up, one down’ system is in operation to the dismay of manager The Kerry native reflected: “We were right in it until about eight minutes to go. We had a spell where we lost concentration and things went pear-shaped. Then we had too much to make up but in fairness to our girls, you couldn’t fault them. They gave it everything and I couldn’t be more proud of them. It’s an absolute tragedy that we’re not going up. I think two should go up and Diane (Longford manager) said that too after the match.”
Meanwhile, Catherine Murphy announced her retirement from the intercounty game following Limerick’s defeat.
The Mungret/St Paul’s player is stepping down after 20 years in the county colours.
Scorers for Limerick: D O’Brien 1-2, C O’Riordan 0-2, C Davis, R Browne, J O’Gorman & S Carroll 0-1 each.
Scorers for Longford: C Greene 0-7f, M Farrell 1-0, P Kenny 0-3, A.M. Bratton 0-2, J Brady, L Farrell & A Reynolds 0-1 each.
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