All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship
Laois 1-14
Derry 0-14

Michael McMullan reports from Swatragh

Derry face an uphill battle to qualify from the group stages after losing their opening game of the championship on Saturday evening.

Grainne McNicholl opened the scoring in the first minute but after Laois' Joyce Dunne sped through and fired to the roof of the net for a third minute goal, Derry were chasing the game.

Alison McElroy notched four first-half points for a Laois side that were ruthless in front of goal.

Derry, on the other hand, constantly coughed up possession and struggled to break down a resolute Laois defence.

They relied on frees from Grainne McGoldrick to keep them in touch.

Points from Aoife Quinn and McGoldrick had Derry level in the 40th minute but John O'Dwyer's side could never get ahead.

The visitors were sharper in most sectors of the pitch, with their substitutes adding to the collective threat.

Grainne McGoldrick had Derry's only clear-cut goal chance but it was batted away by Laura Dunne, while at the other end Niamh McQuillan was the busier goalkeeper.

Shiela Burke and Sarah-Ann Fitzgerald hit two points inside a minute to give Laois a 1-11 to 0-11 lead after 52 minutes.

Derry tried in vain to grab a goal that would save the game, but Laois held on for a deserving win.

In the tie of the round Down drew in Tipperary (2-14 each), meaning Derry must win all of their remaining four games to guarantee a semi-final spot.

The Oakleafers travel to Carlow on Saturday, June 22.

Carlow were 2-11 to 0-11 winners over Wexford on Saturday.

Laois: Laura Dunne; Aoife Hyland, Aishling Burke, Claire Fitzgerald; Olga Parkinson, Sarah-Ann Fitzgerald (0-4, 2f, 1 '45'), Mairead Burke; Sarah Creagh, Alison McElroy (0-4); Rebecca Williams (0-1), Alice Walsh, Joyce Dunne (1-0); Aishling O’Dea, Sheila Burke (0-1), Amy Loughran.
Kirsten Keenan (0-2, 1f) for A O’Dea (HT), Rosemary Bermingham for M Burke (34), Jessie Quinlan (0-2) for S Creagh (38), Clodagh Tynan for R Williams (44), Donagh Mortimer for A Walsh (60).

Derry: Niamh McQuillan; Caoimhe Glass (0-1), Bróna Ní Chaiside, Janet McGuckin; Megan Kerr, Aoife Ní Chaiside, Aine McAllister; Aoife Quinn (0-1), Dervla O'Kane (0-2); Mary Hegarty, Grainne McNicholl (0-2, 1f),  Mairead McNicholl; Shauna Quinn, Grainne McGoldrick (0-8, 4f, 1 '45'), Therese Mellon.
Subs: Aine Kelly for A Quinn (38), Kelly-Marie Hegarty for T Mellon (54), Mairead Comer for N McQuillan (INJ 60+2).

Ref: Paul Ryan (Kildare).

Full report and photos in Tuesday's County Derry Post.

Pic: Dessie Loughery.

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