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Fermanagh were off pace and lost to better side, admits Garrity

Fermanagh 2-6 Louth 3-13

Hot pursuit: Fermanagh’s Joanne Doonan tracks Niamh Rice of Louth
Hot pursuit: Fermanagh’s Joanne Doonan tracks Niamh Rice of Louth
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Fermanagh's dreams of landing their first All-Ireland ladies' junior football title at Croke Park yesterday were cruelly shredded by a fiercely-driven, mobile Louth outfit that took the honours in spectacular fashion as an astonishing 54,000 fans filtered into the stadium for a finals triple bill.

Superbly led by skipper Kate Flood, who scored 1-5 of the 1-6 her side had assembled in the early stages of the game, Louth stepped on the accelerator after the break when a brace of goals from the outstanding Niamh Rice cemented their authority.

A Lisa Maguire goal 10 minutes into the second half briefly resurrected Fermanagh's spirits, while Eimear Smyth, who landed three points from frees overall, and Blaithin Bogue did their best to keep the Erne side afloat.

Smyth, who has been a rich source of scores for the Ulster champions this year, was well shackled by a vigilant Louth defence and this was one of the main reasons that her side succumbed.

Louth, strong at the back and resourceful up front, charged through to the final quarter and although a late goal from Aishling Woods provided an element of respite for Fermanagh, there was simply no stopping a confident Wee County outfit.

Disappointed Fermanagh boss Johnny Garrity offered no excuses in assessing a game that got away from his side much too early.

"Louth started strongly and kept coming at us," said Garrity. "We are a better team than we showed ourselves to be on this occasion but you have to say that the best team won."

Tipperary won the All-Ireland ladies' intermediate football title by beating Meath by 2-16 to 1-14, while Dublin claimed the All-Ireland ladies' senior title by beating Galway by 2-3 to 0-4.

Scorers: Louth: K Flood 1-8 (5f), N Rice 1-2, L Boyle 1-2 (1f), S Byrne 0-1.

Fermanagh: E Smyth 0-4 (4f), A Woods 1-1, L Maguire 1-0, B Bogue 0-1.

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