Fantastic Fleming keeps Rossies up

TG4 LGFA All-Ireland IFC Relegation Play-off

Roscommon 2-12    Louth 2-8

It proved to be a successful weekend for Roscommon women’s teams as the county’s Intermediate football team preserved their championship status for 2024 when they defeated Louth by 2-12 to 2-8 in Kinnegad on Saturday.

While this was an excellent victory for the team, captain Laura Fleming was the inspiration behind the win, scoring an incredible 2-9 of her side’s total. It was a sensational display from the St Ciaran’s player who turned in her best performance in a county jersey.

Louth scored a goal after just 25 seconds but ‘Captain Fantastic’ Fleming scored her first goal in the third minute to equalise. Louth went ahead after they scored a second goal on 15 minutes but the magnificent Fleming was on hand to fist home her side’s second goal before half-time to leave Roscommon 2-5 to 2-4 ahead at the break.

There was never much between the teams in the second half but Fleming and Aisling Hanly were always able to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Towards the end of the match two inspirational points from skipper Fleming ensured that Roscommon will be playing Intermediate championship football again in 2024.

Roscommon manager Ollie Lennon knew his side were in a battle last Saturday afternoon.

“It was probably completely different to what we would have been used to all year. We were just holding on to a slender lead coming in to the last few minutes of the game. Relegation battles will do that to you. The formbook goes out the window and we saw that right up until the final whistle because there was nothing in that game. It could have gone either way,” he said.

Not surprisingly, the Roscommon manager paid tribute to his magnificent captain Laura Fleming.

“You can see what it means to Laura to stay at this level. This game was the most important one to Laura all year. There’s no point in even trying to come up with words to describe what she offers to the group and how good a player and how great a person she is to coach. She is just brilliant,” he said.

Finally, he summed up the year on a positive note: “We can look back on it either way. The perception out there might be that it’s a year to forget for the ladies. We probably think differently within the group. I think we have really got something out of the year,” he concluded.

Roscommon: Helena Cummins; Erin Hagan, Ellen Irwin, Saoirse Wynne; Niamh Feeney, Aisling Shanagher, Judy McDermott; Caoimhe Cregg, Ruth Cox; Róisín Wynne, Aisling Feely, Ella Thompson; Aisling Hanly (0-3), Aoife Gavin, Laura Fleming (2-9, 5 frees). Subs used: Rachel Fitzmaurice for McDermott (36), Niamh Fitzgerald for Gavin (36), Lauren Shanagher for Feely (51), Millie Hagan for E Hagan (52).