Aisling McCarthy was in terrific form for the Tipperary ladies football team on Saturday.
The Tipperary senior ladies football team were superb on Saturday at Ardfinnan - in a rampant display the side managed by Shane Ronayne roared to a 21-point victory over Laois.
Lidl National Ladies Football
League Division Two
Tipperary 5-14 Laois 1-5
The Premier County now lead division two of the Lidl National Ladies Football League and deservedly so. Indeed, for anyone interested in management or coaching this Tipperary team is worth seeing in action.
Tipperary can certainly call on outstanding individual players like Aisling McCarthy and Aishling Moloney, but the key to the performance on Saturday was that McCarthy and Moloney adorned a sophisticated system of play which featured Jennifer Grant as a seventh defender. Tipp were in terrific physical shape and brought a sensational work ethic to this contest. Indeed, the Premier County are ticking a lot of boxes right now - this highly ambitious bunch of players appear determined to realise their potential.
An incident in the 62nd minute of this contest probably best illustrates why this Tipperary team could go far this season.
Despite leading by eighteen points at the time the Tipperary players were still determined to filter back, work hard and make life as difficult as possible for the visitors. Then, Lorraine O’Shea won the ball back inside her 45-yard line and Tipperary launched a counter-attack. The ball was moved smartly up the field before Sarah Ryan played in Sarah Everard for a cracking goal.
Aisling McCarthy was not involved in that particular move, but overall McCarthy was the outstanding candidate for the player of the match award. Tipp employed a two-player inside forward line and the timing of McCarthy’s runs from inside to out were absolutely vital to the effectiveness of Shane Ronayne’s out-numbered forward line.
The Cahir star performed her role to devastating effect, scored 1-5 from play and also had a hand in a whole plethora of blue and gold attacks.
Laois clung on for the opening ten minutes as Tipperary came at them in waves - the sides were locked on 0-2 apiece, but the visitors were already struggling; Gillian O’Brien had opened the scoring for the home side while Caoimhe Condon also landed a neat effort. Meanwhile Aisling Keogh and Clare Condon (free) hit back for Laois.
During the ensuing twenty-two minutes, however, Laois were overwhelmed as Tipperary blasted 4-6 without reply. Indeed, the Premier County may well have added two more goals to that tally with a bit of luck.
An excellent individual effort from Aisling McCarthy helped Tipp back into the lead before a Caoimhe Condon rasper was brilliantly saved by Laois ‘keeper Caoimhe Dollard. Tipperary, however, would not be denied in the 15th minute when Caoimhe Condon, Gillian O’Brien and Róisín Howard combined to set up Aisling McCarthy for the opening goal of the game.
McCarthy added a converted free soon after before creating the room for Róisín Howard to leave six between the sides (1-5 to 0-2) in the 19th minute.
Three minutes later Tipperary carved Laois open with a brilliant move involving Aisling McCarthy and Róisín Howard before Aishling Moloney blasted over with, you suspected, the goal at her mercy.
Laois’ Meaghan Dunne and Erone Fitzpatrick enjoyed slight glimpses of Lauren Fitzpatrick’s goal, but the home side struck for the second three-pointer of this contest in the 23rd minute - Aishling Moloney picked out the run of Aisling McCarthy with a terrific kick pass and McCarthy set up Róisín Howard for a cracker.
Aisling McCarthy then booted over a left foot point before sparking the move which led to Tipperary’s third goal in the 27th minute - this time Róisín Howard accepted a pass from McCarthy before finding Aishling Moloney’s off-the-shoulder supporting sally forward and the Cahir star buried a left-footed shot.
Two minutes later McCarthy - who the Laois defence utterly failed to deal with - set up Róisín Howard for another goal; Howard delivered off her right.
Gillian O’Brien landed an eighth Tipp point in the 31st minute and the home side led 4-8 to 0-2 before an Emma Lawlor point brought the opening half to a conclusion.
Tipperary led by seventeen points at the break (4-8 to 0-3).
Efforts from Aisling McCarthy and Róisín Howard forced Tipperary nineteen clear during the opening three minutes of the second half before Laois hit back with a goal of their own when Caoimhe Lalor set up Laura Nerney for an emphatic finish in the 36th minute.
Aishling Moloney and Aisling McCarthy responded with Tipperary points before a brace of Clare Condon frees brought the scoring to a conclusion from a Laois point of view.
The second half was not nearly as lively as the first as this contest cantered to an inevitable conclusion with a brace from Aisling McCarthy (one free) preceding Sarah Everard’s goal in the 62nd minute.
In division two of the Lidl National Ladies Football League the Tipperary ladies football team will travel to take on Tyrone on Sunday, February 11th, face Cavan (away) on Sunday, February 25th, hosts Waterford on Sunday, March 4th and Sligo on Sunday, March 25th before completing the round robin stage of the league away to Clare on Sunday, April 1st.
The semi-finals are scheduled to take place on the week-ending Sunday, April 22nd. And, Tipp will, of course, also have an eye on their Munster senior championship semi-final clash with the mighty Cork on June 2nd - Waterford take on Kerry on the opposite side of the draw.
Tipperary senior ladies football manager Shane Ronayne is joined on the management ream by selectors Anne-Marie Ruby, Elaine Harte and Tony Smith as a selector. Ronan Crosse operates as a physio with the team this season while Cahir’s Alan O’Connor is a key man in the set-up both in terms of skill development and strength and conditioning.
Tipperary: Lauren Fitzpatrick (Ballymacarbry, Waterford), Siobhán Condon (Aherlow), Maria Curley (Templemore), Emma Buckley (Cahir), Lorraine O'Shea (Mullinahone), Samantha Lambert (Ardfinnan, captain), Bríd Condon (Aherlow), Orla O'Dwyer (Boherlahan), Aishling Moloney (Cahir, 1-2), Jennifer Grant (Brian Ború’s), Gillian O'Brien (Moyle Rovers, 0-2), Niamh Lonergan (Moyle Rovers), Caoimhe Condon (Brian Ború’s, 0-1), Róisín Howard (Cahir, 2-2), Aisling McCarthy (Cahir, 1-7, 0-2 frees). Subs: (HT) Anna Rose Kennedy (Aherlow) for Emma Buckley, (HT) Shauna Quirke (Cappawhite) for Orla O’Dwyer, (44th) Courtney Lonergan (Clonmel Commercials) for Niamh Lonergan, (44th) Sarah Everard (Moyle Rovers, 1-0) for Róisín Howard, (48th) Sarah Ryan (Clonmel Commercials) for Shauna Quirke, (48th) Róisín McGrath (Moyle Rovers) for Caoimhe Condon, (48th) Laura Dillon (Ardfinnan) for Lauren Fitzpatrick, (53rd) Gráinne Condon (Aherlow) Aishling Moloney.
Laois: Caoimhe Dollard, Mary Cotter, Victoria Byrne, Mags McEvoy, Áine Haberlin, Jane Moore, Anna Healy, Laura Nerney (1-0), Joyce Dunne, Caoimhe Simms, Erone Fitzpatrick, Emma Lawlor (0-1), Meaghen Dunne, Aisling Keogh (0-1), Clare Condon (0-3, 0-3 frees). Subs: (HT) Caoimhe Lalor for Meaghan Dunne, (HT) Ciara Langton for Aisling Keogh, (47th) Aimee Kelly for Áine Haberlin.
Referee: J Murphy (Carlow).
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