Eimear Smyth stars for Fermanagh while Derry suffer opening day defeat

Derry v Carlow
Derry's Emma Doherty and Roisin Bailey of Carlow battle for possession during the Lidl Ladies' NFL Division Four clash at Celtic Park on Sunday (Margaret McLaughlin Photography )

Lidl Ladies’ National Football League Division Four

THE returning Eimear Smyth hit 10 points as CJ McGourty got his tenure as Fermanagh manager off to a winning start with a 2-14 to 1-4 victory over Longford in Donagh yesterday.

Smyth, who did not play for the Erne county last season, was brought into the starting line-up and her impact was immediate with a brace of points, as they raced into an early 0-4 to 0-1 lead, Blaithin Bogue with the other two.

Fermanagh's Eimear Smyth scored 2-9 for Derrygonnelly in their All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship quarter-final win over Round Towers of London
Fermanagh's Eimear Smyth grabbed 10 points in her side's National League victory over Longford

Elaine Maguire’s 21st minute goal opened up a six point lead, 1-6 to 0-3, as Smyth and Bogue, who grabbed all of their side’s first half points, extended that out to eight before Niamh McManus hit an injury-time goal to give the home side an 11-point lead, 2-9 to 0-4, at half-time.

Longford found the back of the net four minutes into the second half through Niamh Brady, but three Smyth converted frees without reply wiped that out and she followed up with her fifth from play and her fifth from a free to take her tally to the 10 as Fermanagh proved too strong and got three early points on the board.

Derry lost by five points, 3-7 to 2-5, to Carlow in Celtic Park but new managers Paddy O’Brien and DD McCaffrey will be able to take a lot of positives from the game.

The sides were level at half-time, 0-4 to 1-1, Derry with four first half points from Orla McGeough, all from frees, whilr Maeve O’Neill got the visitors’ goal.

Carlow edged in front shortly after the resumption but a Cara Donnelly goal gave the Oak Leaf girls a two-point advantage. However, the Leinster side hit back also most immediately through star forward Cliodhna Ni She, who found the back of the net to give retake the lead.

The sides exchanged points but a third Carlow goal, this one from Fia Murphy, either side of two points, put them in control at 3-5 to 1-5.

Derry though fought back, Ballymaguigan’s Erin Doherty raising the green flag to leave just a kick of the ball between them at 3-5 to 2-5, but Carlow hit the last two points to ensure they went back home with the win.

There was also a winning start for Leitrim who defeated Kilkenny while Limerick and Wicklow shared the points.