LAST year’s Division 2 champions Donegal have booked their place in the Division 1 semi-finals of the 2011 Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League.
The All-Ireland intermediate champions defeated pointless Mayo in Ballyshannon on Sunday as Geraldine McLaughlin bagged a hat-trick of goals. Donegal’s fourth win from five Division 1 outings this season means they will definitely finish in the top four – with Monaghan and holders Cork also assured of semi-final places.
Donegal made sure with a 3-4 to 1-8 win against relegation-haunted Mayo – who slumped to a fifth successive defeat.
Two first half goals from McLaughlin helped Donegal to lead by 2-3 to 0-7 at half-time, as Mayo responded with six points from Cora Staunton and a Lisa Cafferky point.
But crucially, Staunton had a penalty saved by Donegal goalkeeper Roisin McCafferty and the north-westerners held firm in the second half to claim the win. McLaughlin and Triona McNicholas traded second half goals while Yvonne McMonagle scored a second half point to take her match tally to 0-4. At the wrong end of the table, Mayo must now win their remaining two matches and hope that results elsewhere go their way to have any hope of avoiding the drop.
In Division 2, All-Ireland senior champions Dublin won the Leinster derby against Meath by 2-15 to 1-8 at Naomh Mearnóg. Dublin remain second behind Kerry in the table but will contest a divisional semi-final barring a catastrophic collapse and a mathematical miracle in the remaining two rounds of group matches.
Two first half goals from Lyndsey Davey aided Dublin’s cause as the Sky Blues, who had Noelle Healy in scintillating form, led by 2-10 to 0-2 at half-time.
Dublin scored the first two points of the second half to move 16 clear but Meath, to their credit, never gave up and outscored the Jackies by 1-5 to 0-3 in the final quarter.
Elaine Duffy, who scored 1-2, netted a consolation goal for the Royal County from a penalty in what was a physical encounter between the neighbours.
Meanwhile, Clare remain on course for a swift return to Division 2 after maintaining their 100 per cent record in Division 3. Niamh Keane, Eimear Considine and Louise Henchy scored the goals for the Banner County in a 3-13 to 1-10 victory against Wexford in Enniscorthy.
And in Division 4, Roscommon’s previously unbeaten record went as Westmeath strengthened their grip at the top of the table with a 0-17 to 2-6 victory at Kinnegad.
Meanwhile, Wexford’s Pat Quill was voted in for a second successive term as President of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association at annual Congress in Limerick over the weekend. Quill is entering the final year of his current three-year stint but was installed as President elect unopposed when Ulster chairman Hugh Devaney,
who was also nominated for the position, withdrew from the race. Quill previously served as Ladies President from 1985-88 before taking up the position again in 2008.
Meanwhile, the position of National Development officer was filled by former Mayo player and current Galway chairman Con Moynihan, who takes over from Derry’s Joe Lagan.
Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 1:
Laois 0-12 Cork 3-7
Donegal 3-4 Mayo 1-8
Galway 0-11 Monaghan 1-11
Kildare 2-8 Tyrone 2-15
Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 2:
Dublin 2-15 Meath 1-8
Sligo 1-8 Kerry 4-21
Cavan 3-11 Waterford 2-7
Tipperary P P Armagh (Game postponed due to bad weather)
Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 3:
Wexford 1-10 Clare 3-13
Longford 1-1 Down 2-12
Fermanagh 5-9 Leitrim 1-4
Wicklow 6-7 Limerick 3-10
Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 4:
Antrim 3-8 Carlow 2-7
Kilkenny – - Derry (Game conceded by Derry)
Louth 1-3 Offaly 1-6
Westmeath 0-17 Roscommon 2-6
By Jackie Cahill