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Offaly Defeated by Laois in Leinster Opener   04/06/2018

Match Report; Offaly v Laois

Competition; Leinster Championship Quarter Final

Date; 03 June 2018

Half Time: Laois 1-09, Offaly 2-05

Full Time: Laois 2-15, Offaly 2-09

Offaly took on Laois in the Quarter Finals of the Intermediate Ladies Football TG4 Leinster championship, in a sun-drenched Tubber GAA grounds. Laois opened the game with huge intent and the scoreboard read 4 points to no score after 10 minutes.

The Offaly girls then took control of the situation, Mairead Daly opened the scoring with 2 unanswered points. This was quickly followed by Marie Byrne getting her hands on a couple of opposition kickouts to leave the match at 4 points a piece.

Offaly's grip on the game was tightening, Dawn Hannon and Katie Kehoe in the half back line were dominating their space. Amy Gavin Mangan, Maria Kelly and Marie Byrne were causing havoc on the opposition kickouts further up the pitch.

Katie Kehoe won the next kickout and the ball was quickly transferred into Ellie McEvoy who then laid it off to Mairead Daly, McEvoy got the return pass and put it in the back of the net, to give Offaly a 1-4 to 0-4 lead on the 20th minute.

Laois came back with 3 unanswered points, where Offaly were guilty of some soft defending.  Offaly had a chance of a goal, with Mairead Daly going hard at the goals, forcing a good save from the Laois keeper, Fiona Kelly. From the resulting kickout Laois worked the ball down the field and with some good play, their corner forward Maggie Murphy scored a fine goal.

Katie Kehoe received a yellow card, which was a harsh decision for a soft foul on her marker. This meant she missed the next 10 minutes of play. Emily Bailey entered the fray at the same time and within 2 minutes, she made a good run with the ball to lay it off to Mairead Daly, to get her 2nd goal of the match. Laois got the last score of the half, to leave Offaly trailing by a single point at half time. 2-5 to 1-9.

Offaly made a second change at half time with Annie Kehoe coming on for Aoife Carey.  However it was Laois who opened the scoring in the second half with a good point. From the kickout the ball was worked up to Aoife Norris, she drove hard at the opposition goals and wrong footed the entire defence to open up the goals, the shot was driven hard but the crossbar was Laois’s saviour. Laois then went back up the field to score a point which left them 3 up.

Offaly got what looked like a couple of game changing decisions, Laois got 2 yellow cards in quick succession to see the home side play with a 2 player advantage.  However Offaly then conceded a needless free with the full defence in position, this put Laois 4 up and was a very costly and needless free to give away. It took Offaly about 5 minutes to realise their numerical advantage and they then scored 4 points unanswered to bring the match back to a draw. Offaly ultimately needed to be more attacking and put more width on the ball to make their numerical advantage count.

As Laois got back to their full complement of players, they now had 2 new fresher players on the pitch. Offaly didn’t score again for the last 15 minutes. Laois, on the other hand, piled on 1-3 in the same time.

Overall Offaly played well. Laois having operated at a higher level in both league and championship over the past few years, was probably the difference between the two sides. Certainly, the kickouts in the 1st half went Offaly's way. If Offaly could develop a little composure in front of goal, especially with the players coming from deep, the scoreline could have been different. Offaly will go into the backdoor system and if they can regroup, they should have a couple of more outings.      

Offaly Team; 1.Ciana Mangan, 2. Emmer Nally, 3 Sarah Cummins, 20. Aoife Carey, 5. Dawn Hannon, 6. Emma Maher 7. Katie Kehoe, 8. Aoife Norris, 9. Amy Gavin Mangan, 10. Maeve Coleman, 4. Imelda Flemming 11. Ellee McEvoy, 12.Sarah Keogh, 13 Mairead Daly, 14. Marie Byrne, 15. Maria Kelly.

Subs; Annie Keogh, Emily Bailey, Roisin Ennis, Abbie Dunne, Sinead Byrne, Sarah Bracken, Sorcha Coleman, Clodagh McKeon, Niamh Glackin, Aisling Fox Management; Amy Kerrigan, Physio Emer Kinnearney. Sponsors; Tullamore Motors.

Report with thanks to Offaly's Martin McKeon