The Tipperary Ladies Footballers were on their travels for the second week in succession in the last round of the Tesco Homegrown National Ladies Football League.
Sligo provided the opposition in a game played in the impressive Sligo Institute of Technology grounds. Tipperary had the aid of the strong wind in the first half and took an early lead thanks to a brace of points from Edel Hanley. Sligo were defending in numbers and hitting Tipperary on the break, a tactic which ensured a low scoring opening quarter as Tipperary led by 0-2 to 0-1 after 17 minutes. Tipperary eventually began to find their range in front of goal, scoring three quick points followed by a Shauna Ryan goal in the 20th minute to put some daylight between the sides. Sligo responded with two good points before Tipperary added three further unanswered points approaching the interval to ensure a half-time lead of 1-8 to 0-3.
In spite of the eight point differential, such was the strength of the wind in Sligo’s favour in the second half that the outcome was still very much up for grabs. What transpired was as unlikely as it was brilliant from a Tipperary perspective. With Sligo now forced to play a more expansive, attacking game with the wind at their backs and a deficit to overcome, the Premier Ladies took advantage of the additional spaces to produce some brilliant attacking football. With the Tipperary defence repelling every Sligo attack, the blue and gold attacked with purpose and picked off score after score against the wind. By the 45th minute, Tipperary had amazingly added nine unanswered points to stretch their lead to an unassailable 1-17 to 0-3. Indeed, but for the excellence of the Sligo goalkeeper it could have been much better as Tipperary created numerous goal chances in this period.
Sligo picked off some good scores in the final quarter and though goals were required for the home side, the Tipperary defence held firm restricting Sligo to mainly pointed frees in this period to round off a double scores victory – 1-17 to 0-10. Having defeated Sligo with a late goal in the 2012 League, a tough game was expected on Sunday last but Tipperary played their best football of 2013 to date to record an impressive victory. Thankfully, other results in Division 3 went our way which ensured that Tipperary finished level with Longford and Leitrim on 12 points in joint 4th place ensuring a three-way playoff for the final semi-final places. The draw for this play-off has not been made at the time of writing – check www.tipperaryladiesfootball.ie or @TippLadiesFB Twitter for details as Tipperary look to continue their good form ahead of the summer championship campaign.
Tipperary: Jackie O’Gorman (Brian Borus), Brid Condon (Aherlow), Samantha Lambert (Ardfinnan), Katie Lyne (Moyle Rovers), Ann O’Dwyer (Cappawhite), Claire Carroll (Galtee Rovers), Barbara Ryan (Moyle Rovers), Jennifer Grant (Brian Boru’s), Sheelagh Carew (Cappawhite), Niamh Lonergan (Moyle Rovers), Mairead Morrissey (Brian Boru’s), Orlagh Walsh (Boherlahan), Edith Carroll (Galtee Rovers), Shauna Ryan (Ballymacarbery), Edel Hanley (Aherlow).
Subs: Caitriona Walsh (Moycarkey Borris), Sinead Delahunty (Foxrock/Cabinteely), Aoife Ryan (Cappawhite)
Tipperary scorers: Edel Hanley 0-10 (0-7 frees), Shauna Ryan 1-2, Jennifer Grant 0-1, Edith Carroll 0-1, Orlagh Walsh 0-1, Mairead Morrissey 0-1, Niamh Lonergan 0-1.