By John Woods
CARLOW ladies kept their unbeaten league record intact with a fine performance against Antrim at IT Carlow on Sunday.
The hosts started brightly and in the second minute, Niamh Forde won the ball in midfield and passed to Clíodhna Ní She who set up Lauren Dwyer for a goal, which was quickly followed by a second excellent goal by midfielder Caoimhe O’Neill.
Two points from Clíodhna Ní Shé followed before Antrim got their first point of the game.
Carlow were in complete control, playing some fantastic free-flowing football and they scored three more goals, one from Lauren Dwyer and two from the busy Sarah Doyle.
Antrim to their credit kept trying but with the Carlow defence working hard, they were limited to just four more points in the first half.
A final point from Clíodhna Ní Shé left Carlow going in comfortable leaders at half time: 5-3 to 0-4.
The second half however was a different affair and with Carlow down to 14 players due to a sin bin, Antrim enjoyed an early spell of dominance scoring a goal and three points to Carlow’s two points from Clíodhna Ní Shé.
Carlow were under pressure but the defence stood strong with Nicole Hanley making some very important saves in goal. Sarah Doyle and Lauren Dwyer scored two points each to Antrim’s one point to leave the final score 5-9 to 1-8.
This was a tougher match than the scoreline would suggest, but the ladies proved they have great character and team spirit. The win leaves Carlow ladies’ next match against Leitrim in two weeks’ time at IT Carlow a vital one, as a win against them will send Carlow into the Division 4 league final.
Carlow: N Hanley (Old Leighlin), A Hanley (Old Leighlin), A Roche (Old Leighlin), O Fitzpatrick (Fenagh), A Dowling (Fenagh), E Atkinson (Old Leighlin), N Murphy (St Anne’s), N Forde (Old Leighlin), C O’Neill (1-0, Old Leighlin), M Kinsella (Na Fianna), S Doyle (2-2, St Brigid’s), A Kiernan (St Brigid’s), L Dwyer (2-2, Bennekerry/Tinryland), C Ní She (0-5, Bennekerry/Tinryland), N Kelly (Bennekerry/Tinryland). Subs: E Cawley (O’Hanrahan’s) for Kiernan (45 mins), N Bambrick (Old Leighlin) for Murphy (45 mins), B Evisson (O’Hanrahan’s) for Kinsella (50 mins), (S Cotter (Bennekerry/ Tinryland) for Ní Shé (55 mins), E Murphy (Fenagh), M O’Dwyer (Fenagh), A Brennan (St Anne’s), S Doyle (Bennekerry/Tinryland).