Cavan and Louth advance to Ladies National Football League semi-finals
Cavan come from behind to beat Kerry as Louth prove too strong for Fermanagh
Kerry’s Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh put her side in front against Cavan but it was not enough to secure victory. Photograph: Ryan Byrne
The final pairings for the Lidl Ladies National Football League semi-finals were confirmed after wins for Cavan and Louth in this weekend’s deciding matches.
In Division 2, victory for James Daly’s Cavan means they finish in third place in the final standings and will meet Waterford in next weekend’s semi-final. In the other Division 2 semi, table toppers Armagh will play Kerry.
Cavan were four points behind with 20 minutes remaining at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney, but they turned things around and claimed an outstanding 4-16 to 4-9 win over Kerry.
It was a fantastic game as Kerry took the early initiative. But Cavan fought back before half-time and their third quarter burst helped the Breffni side secure their win.
Cavan scored three unanswered points early on but Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh’s first goal in the fourth minute drew the sides level for the first time, before she then put Kerry in front.
Hannah O’Donoghue added a second Kerry goal and they took a 3-3 to 0-5 lead coming up to half-time after Ní Mhuircheartaigh’s second strike.
Crucially, Aishling Sheridan, who went on to score a hat-trick, grabbed Cavan’s first goal before half-time and they only trailed by three points at the break.
Cavan scored an unanswered 1-2 on the resumption, with Aishling Maguire on target for their goal after just two minutes, but Kerry hit back with three points before Aishling Sheridan tied it up, and then O’Donoghue added another Kerry goal in the 40th minute.
But Cavan took complete control from here and goals from Sheridan in the 48th and 54th minutes were enough to seal the 4-16 to 4-9 win.
Meanwhile in the final Division 4 group game, Louth proved too strong for Fermanagh at Glen Emmets and ran out 2-19 to 2-9 winners.
The win for Darren Bishop’s side means they finish in top spot in the division and will now meet Antrim in the semi-finals, while Fermanagh will face Limerick in the other last-four clash.
An early goal from Ciara Woods put Louth on a solid footing and they continued to dominate for the majority of the opening half, although Sarah Britton hit the net for Fermanagh before the break, which reduced Louth’s half-time lead to 1-6 to 1-5.
Fermanagh were impressive after the restart and Joanne Doonan’s goal kept them in touch, but once Eimear Byrne fired Louth’s second goal, the Leinster side pulled away and secured a convincing 10-point win.
The Division 1 semi-finals will also be played next weekend with Galway facing Donegal on Saturday in Longford’s Pearse Park (2.15pm), while Cork and Dublin will meet on Sunday at Nowlan Park (2pm) in a repeat of last year’s TG4 All-Ireland senior final.
The Division 3 semi-finals will both be played on Saturday next with the Sligo-Roscommon game forming part of a double header in Longford (12.30pm), while Meath and Longford meet in Kinnegad.
Lidl NFL Division 2
Kerry 4-9 Cavan 4-16
Lidl NFL Division 4
Louth 2-19 Fermanagh 2-9
Lidl NFL Division 1 semi-finals
Galway v Donegal
Dublin v Cork
Lidl NFL Division 2 semi-finals
Armagh v Kerry
Waterford v Cavan
Lidl NFL Division 3 semi-finals
Meath v Longford
Sligo v Roscommon
Lidl NFL Division 4 semi-finals
Louth v Antrim
Fermanagh v Limerick