Louth manager Darren Bishop said the superb display produced by Kate Flood was the key to their TG4 All-Ireland JFC semi-final win over Antrim at St Tiernach’s Park in Clones.
Flood hit 2-6 as Louth set up an All-Ireland final date with Fermanagh after a convincing win as they try to go one better than last year when they went down to Limerick in the decider.
“To be honest, I think everybody has come to expect that of Kate," said Bishop.
She’s a leader among all of the girls, she’s our captain. She takes things on by the scruff of the neck and she leads by example.
Whether it be tracking somebody, whether it be getting the vital score. Fair play to her today, she was very, very good.
Louth goalkeeper Una Pearson saved a penalty in the third quarter to quell a possible revival by Antrim.
“You could say that the penalty save was a turning point, without a doubt. Both teams were going toe-to-toe in the first half. We got the lucky breaks in the second half and we got the couple of goals, which was great as well. We’re delighted,” added Bishop.
Louth led by 0-10 to 1-3 at the break with Lara Dahunsi getting a goal for Antrim after 19 minutes to keep them in the contest after string of good points for Louth from the likes of Flood, Niamh Rice, Susan Byrne, Eimear Byrne Rebecca Carr.
Antrim suffered a major set-back just after the resumption as a serious injury forced team captain Saoirse Tennyson out of the action before Flood got her first goal for Louth.
Antrim looked set for a late lifeline when they were awarded a penalty in the 49th-minute but
Pearson was equal to Orla Corr’s strike and then a goal from Lauren Boyle at the opposite end put the tie beyond doubt before Flood got her second goal.
“The scoreline is a true reflection on the day,” admitted Antrim manager Sean O’Kane.
“They were better in all departments. They were quicker, they were fitter and we had gone down badly in the last four or five weeks in a lot of things. It was on the cards, so it’s not a shock.
"We’ve a lot of people we lost to injury, including our whole full-forward line, and we’d girls who just didn’t play as well as they could have played. In the end, Louth were up for it. We were well beaten, there’s no two ways about it. The fact they were there last year in the final and I’m delighted for them that they’re back. Good luck to them.”
Louth: K Flood 2-6 (0-5f), L Boyle 1-1, R Carr 0-3 (1f), N Rice 0-2, M McMahon, E Byrne, S Byrne 0-1 each.
Antrim: L Dahunsi 1-1, C Carey 0-3 (2f), A Tubridy 0-1.
Louth: U Pearson; E Hand, S Quinn, S McLoughlin; C Nolan, M McMahon, A Breen; E Byrne, A Byrne; R Carr, S Byrne, A Russell; J McGuinness, K Flood, N Rice. Subs: D Osborne for Russell (h-t), L Boyle for McGuinness (39), S Woods for A Byrne (43), A Halligan for Breen, S Matthews for Hand (both 55).
Antrim: A McCann; S Haughey, E Kelly, N Killen; M Hanna, C Brown, K Farren; S Tennyson, A McFarland; L Dahunsi, O Corr, N Enright; C Carey, E Magee, Á Tubridy. Subs: C Stewart for Tennyson (32), M McGourty for Enright (49), C Taggart for Farren (50), A Taggart for Corr (52), N Webb for McFarland (54).
Ref: Siobhan Coyle (Donegal)