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McKenna is proud of his girls despite painful defeat in League showpiece

By John Campbell

Defeat in any final is difficult to digest but Antrim boss Seamus McKenna is not consumed by disappointment and grief following his team's failure to overcome Limerick in the Lidl Ladies National Football League Division Four final.

A fitter, more cohesive and clinical Limerick punished defensive lapses, their hand on the tiller from the fourth minute when Niamh Holland scored the first of her two goals.

"When you make mistakes in big games you are going to get punished but I am proud of my team," stated McKenna. "They dug in and I cannot fault them in terms of effort. We're frustrated at the manner of some of Limerick's scores."

It was the attacking force of Holland and skipper Dympna O'Brien that inflicted wounds on Antrim's morale. O'Brien prodded in Limerick's second goal in the 10th minute and although Antrim hit back with a brace of points, Limerick led by 2-5 to 0-4 at the interval.

Antrim were plunged into deeper trouble on the re-start when O'Brien pocketed her second goal and she added two points to complement one from Richardson Limerick to move the score to 3-8 to 0-5.

The Saffrons, though, launched a mini-revival. Eimer Gallagher fired home their only goal in the 50th minute but Limerick finished strongly. Gallagher, Mairead Cooper, Eimer Kelly and Cathy Carey typified Antrim's resolve in a match in which defeat was their lot but disgrace never on the menu.

LIMERICK: M Giltenane; M O'Shea, A Neary, O Giltenane; K Reidy, S O'Sullivan, C Mee; N Richardson, Y Moynihan; C Coughlan, S Moloney, S Carroll; D O'Brien, L Hanley, N Holland. Subs: M Kelleher for O'Sullivan (36), C Hickey for Carroll (36), R Delee for Coughlan (40), B Flanagan for Mee (52), E Fealy for O Giltenane (56).

ANTRIM: A McCann; S Tennyson, E Kelly, N McKeown; S Cochrane, N Kelly, J McCavana; C Carey, Á Tubridy; M Cooper, C Timoney, A McFarland; E Mallon, E Gallagher, M McCurdy. Subs: N Cooper for Cochrane (36), A Devlin for McCurdy (40), D O'Kane for Tubridy (48), N Enright for Mallon (51).

Referee: D McEnery (Westmeath).

Limerick 4-08

Antrim1-10

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