It wasn’t much with the old and the new for Louth in Darver on Sunday, but there was a fresh hiccup and uncertainty to the line-up and a trace of the coaching and cohesion that had been lacking in the V seniors. previous regime.
His aim in the team’s play was literally tangible from throw-ins and not only was he able to play the ball through the lines, condensing the spaces in which Longford tried to move into and capitalizing on opportunities when they came. but the manner was in stark contrast to the lethargic and heavy-handed approach of their support and movement, which had resulted in Division 3 relegation battles in each of the previous two campaigns.
Kit Henry clearly has the rads to fly and play as he told them to, with moves from the shoulder to multiple angles and punch runners stemming from myriad starting points, giving him a deep set of lungs and an intensity. requires that which can only come with an even stronger desire.
Therefore, the selection of the team to fulfill the orders for the Henry and Co set was spot on. With Céire Nolan moving into a full-back role, she was able to maximize her uncanny ability to move forward from deep possession. Shannon McLaughlin’s timing was inch perfect every time he opted to fly from centre-half and the No6 has an almost telepathic relationship with midfielder Aoife Halligan, who is the most stable in attendance and an absolute powerhouse in terms of gaining territory .
Captain Ann Breen maintained her career-best form, not unlike the way she performed in St Patrick’s colors last year, but Mia Duffy, Grace Trainor and Lucy White – on her league debut – raised the drama Paired and ate the field. Did exactly what the half-forward needed, especially in the first half when Louth faced the wind.
Not that there is any denying the quality of the Reds’ forwards at the selectors’ disposal, but Laura Collins, with 2-5, and Kate Flood, who kicked a not-important 0-3 from the game, appear in the lead. Sizeable, strong and quick, and diagnostic when gaps open up. Add Lauren Boyle and Niamh Rice to the equation, both of whom have shown flashes of class off the bench, and Luth could well be a force to be reckoned with in this division.
Granted, of course, the opposition was relatively poor, there was still much to admire about Luth’s performance, as well as the decisiveness of the sidekicks. Longford’s small attacker Clodagh Lohan was piercing the V backline for much of the first half until Nolan was tasked with tagging him down.
This deprived the Reds of a key transitional threat and duly, Elise Hand, who has established herself as the county’s best defender, was surprisingly dropped from the starting XV and the Geraldines clubwoman played the entire match for the finale. Kind of erased the effect of Grattan’s star. 20 minutes.
“To have those players at our disposal on the line, that’s the depth of the team,” Henry said.
“There were eight or nine girls who made their senior debut for Louth and it’s great to see.
“We didn’t leave any stone unturned. We’ve been training them since last November, even during the trial period, and it’s extremely important for the girls because that’s what they need. It’s all about belief too , and they have got that faith, hope, and belief today.
“We are working to make progress all the time and bring this consistency into our game, and not regress.”
The Reds led 1-5 to 1-3 at the interval when a soft variety goal was scored when Collins’ free was lofted into the net under the crossbar. Lauren Maguire’s header at the other end, meanwhile, was the product of a clever, flowing attack and momentarily gave the visitors the advantage.
However, there was nothing accidental about Louth’s second three-pointer. McLaughlin and Halligan were involved along the way and when Collins collected the leather, she swung to the right before cutting inside and planting the ball firmly into the corner of the net.
Henry said, “It was a great team move with depth, well worked through the lines.”
The register of goals and Flood’s subsequent few points were of the highest caliber, including a shot over the top – again with his ‘weak’ left foot – by Collins that involved him not even taking a momentary glance at the posts.
In fact, if this effort becomes anything, Louth won’t be looking back as they look to challenge for intermediate honours.
Louth: Rebecca Lambe-Fagan; Aimar Murray, Caoime Boyle, Rachel Barth; Aoife Russell, Shannon McLaughlin, Caitlin O’Reilly; Aoife Halligan, Aine Breen 0-1; Mia Duffy, Grace Trainer 0-2, Lucy White; Laura Collins 2-5 (1-3f), Kate Flood 0-3, Serey Nolan. Subs: Elise Hand (42) for Boyle, Niah Rice 0-1 (44) for White, Lauren Boyle 0-1 (1f) for Duffy (53).
Longford: Rianna McGrath; Rachel O’Farrell, Leanne Keegan, Emily O’Reilly; Hannah Glennon, Eamer O’Brien, Caoime McCormack; Grace Shannon 0-3, Caoime Lohan; Kaitlin McCann, Camille Burke, Shauna Hagan; Lauren Maguire 1-1 (0-1f), Clodagh Lohan 0-1, Ciara Healy 0-3 (3f). Maria Kelleher for Hagen (42), Grace Kenny for Caiohime Lohan (50), Ellie Lynn for McCown (59).
Referee: Brendan Rice (below).