Westmeath Ladies first ever time in Division 1 could not have gotten off to a tougher start when they were fixed to play both of 2017’s All-Ireland finalists. However Stephen Maxwell’s side have put in two fantastic performances and were just narrowly beaten by both Mayo and champions Dublin.
First in Swinford, Mayo, managed by Westmeath man Peter Leahy, ran out 0-11 to 0-07 winners while last weekend in St.Loman’s, Dublin had to show all their quality and experience to escape with a 2-10 to 2-05 victory.
Dublin, who had 6 of their All-Ireland team starting, trailed by 1-4 to 0-4 at half-time after a wonderful goal from promising young Mullingar Shamrocks midfielder Anna Jones in the 7th minute.
A 2nd goal from Milltown’s attacking wing-back Kelly Boyce Jordan put us into a dream 7 point lead in the 41st minute.
But Dublin – aided by the half-time introduction of 2017 Player of the Year and All-Ireland Final Player of the Match Noelle Healy – eventually turned the tide.
Captain and 5 time All-Star Sinead Ahearne and influential midfielder Carla Rowe both goaled for the Dubs as Mick Bohan’s side powered home in the final stages.
Our girls never stopped trying though and if a goal hadn’t been disallowed things could’ve turned out differently.
This weekend’s game at home to Donegal is crucial as a win would give the players great confidence ahead of the final 4 games and would get our first points on the board.
Team v Dublin: Karen Walsh; Rachel Dillon, Amie Giles, Nicole Feery; Kelly Boyce Jordan (1-0), Fiona Claffey, Fiona Coyle; Karen McDermott, Anna Jones (1-0); Karen Hegarty, Maud Annie Foley (0-4f), Johanna Maher (0-1); Sarah Dolan, Laura Walsh, Lucy McCartan.
Subs used: Chloe Kelly for Hegarty (43 mins); Laura Brennan for Boyce Jordan (50); Amy Alford for Dolan (53); Annie Dolan for Jones (60); Ellen Cronin for McDermott (60).
Team v Mayo: Karen Walsh; Rachel Dillon, Amie Giles, Marguerite O’Connor; Laura Brennan, Anna Jones, Fiona Coyle; Karen McDermott, Karen Hegarty(0-1); Kelly Boyce Jordan, Maud Annie Foley(0-4f), Fiona Claffey; Sarah Dolan(0-1), Laura Walsh(0-1), Lucy McCartan.
Subs used: Johanna Maher (for Dolan ht), Amy Alford (for Jones 48), Chloe Kelly (for Boyce Jordan 57).