Fermanagh 2-06 Louth 3-13

Fermanagh’s hopes of claiming a second All Ireland Junior title in three years ended in final disappointment at Croke Park today as they suffered defeat to an impressive Louth side.

The Wee County, for who full forward Kate Flood was outstanding, led from start to finish with Flood hitting 1-05 in the first half as Louth went in at the break with a 1-07 to 0-02 advantage.

And although Lisa Maguire did find the net for Fermanagh in the second half, goals from Niamh Rice and Lauren Boyle wrapped up a comprehensive victory for Louth with Fermanagh hitting a late consolation goal through Aisling Woods.

Both sides made a tentative start to the contest but it was Louth who began to get on top with Flood registering the first three scores of the contest, one from play and two frees.

Fermanagh did have an early goal chance when Eimear Smyth was put through but she was denied by goalkeeper Una Pearson.

Fermanagh finally opened their account in the 18th minute through a Smyth free and the full forward quickly added another to leave it a one point game, 0-03 to 0-02, with ten minutes to go to the break.

However, a more clinical Louth dominated the closing stages of the half with Rice and Flood landing points while Flood also rifled home a goal to leave it 1-06 to 0-02 at the break.

Fermanagh needed to get off to a good start to the second half but instead it was Louth who added to their lead as Flood, Lauren Boyle and Susan Byrne rattled over points.

Fermanagh did have the ball in the back of the net through Lisa Maguire but this was disallowed however there was nothing wrong moments later as Maguire drilled a shot to the net to give Fermanagh hope.

When Smyth then tagged on a free it saw the deficit reduced to six points but that was as close as it got for Fermanagh.

Rice and Flood knocked over points before Smyth and Boyle traded scores but any hopes Fermanagh had were ended when Rice bagged Louth second goal to make it 2-12 to 1-04.

In fairness to Fermanagh they continued to battle and Aisling Woods and Blaithin Bogue registered points but Louth then swooped for their third goal as Boyle got on the end of a long ball and drove home.

Woods did bag a late goal for Fermanagh but in the end Louth were deserving victors as they ran out 3-13 to 2-06 winners.