A VERY determined Carlow defeated Louth by a serious margin in their Littlewoods Ireland National Camogie League Division 3 match on Sunday in Darver.
A dominant Carlow opened their league with a comprehensive win over Louth who are fielding in their first national competition in over two decades. The scene was set soon after the throw-in with Ciara Quirke finishing to the rigging inside two minutes.
Captain Kate Nolan, operating at pivot, then came up with a long-range point to set the tone that was to continue for the game. Louth were unable to win possession from their own puck- outs and a hungry Carlow battled for every scrap of possession to mount a serious score.
All three of the inside forwards were to score goals in the first half with Eibhe Lawler and Emma Coogan netting while four other girls added points to see the visitors retire at half time on a scoreline of 3-16 to no score.
Such was the dominance of the Carlow team that Tracy McNally in the Carlow goals was to puck out just one ball in the entire match.
On the resumption there was no respite for Louth with Ciara Quirke netting inside the first minute. This pattern of Carlow scoring freely was the norm for the rest of the game with the aforementioned Ciara Quirke registering an amazing 4-12 with just three of these coming from placed balls.
But this was far from a one-player show, and all the forwards plus the subs got in on the action. With their superior teamwork and hunger, they gave the hosts no chance.
The Darver pitch was an astroturf pitch and while it took the Carlow girls a while to get used to the fast pace, once that was mastered, there was no stopping them.
Louth to their credit never stopped trying and in their goalkeeper Leanne Sharkey, captain Aideen Dunne, centre back Lorraine Young and Deirdre Dunne wearing the centre forward jersey, they had players who gave their all.
But the entire Carlow team battled for every ball, moved it on to a player in a better position and the forwards scored freely.
There is no doubt that this team has worked hard over the last number of weeks but stiffer tests undoubtedly lie ahead against Clare, Kerry and Down in particular.
Carlow: Tracy McNally; Keeva Collins, Niamh Quirke, Shannon Kavanagh; Tara Wilson, Kate Nolan (c) ( 0-1), Katie Garry Murphy; Emma Cody (0-4), Mairead O’Shea; Anna Breen, Eve Sinnott (0-2), Ciara Kavanagh (1-3); Emma Coogan (1-0), Ciara Quirke (4-12, 0-3 frees), Eibhe Lawler (1-4). Subs: Aine Behan (0-1), Aine Nolan, Rachel Sawyer (1-1)
Louth: Leanne Sharkey, Claire Ward, Jane McKeon, Clodagh Fennell, Katie McArdle, Lorraine Young, Nicole Vulcher, Aideen Dunne Capt, Orla McGeeney, Deirdre Dunne, Aine Connolly, Siobhan Dawdry, Ann McCormack, Rita Mullen, Alanna Dowling. Subs: Eleanor Smyth, Karen Shields, Michelle Duffy and Niketa Duffy.
Referee: Suzanne Ford (Dublin)