Date Time Competition Season
13 August 2023 11:45 am All Ireland Junior Championship 2023


Match Report

Down lift Junior Championship with Limerick victory

Orla Swail’s second half goal proved the deciding score in a closely fought 2023 TG4 Ladies Junior All Ireland Final, overcoming Limerick by two points.

A game where a goal would also prove the deciding moment, it was closely fought 0-5 to 0-4 at the break, it was level pegging until Swail came off the bench and shot low to the net for the crucial moment.

Limerick missed three goal chances in the first half and will regret their missed shooting chances, while Down with Natasha Ferris at her best notching five points, will savor the win. Ferris finishing on 7-31 (52) for the season, will she scoop the ZuCar Golden Boot award?

Down had plenty of the early possession, knocking it back and forth trying to get an opening in the Limerick backline, one arrived in the second minute but Viv McCormack’s effort drifted to the right and wide of the posts.

Referee Angela Gallagher however awarded Down a free which sharpshooter Natasha Ferris tapped over for the opening score. Limerick rallied back quickly and the dancing footwork of Caoimhe McGrath brought them an opening score.

She stayed on her toes moving from left to right looking to peel off the Down defence, took her chance well curling a beauty on her right boot over the bar from an acute angle. McGrath slotted two frees to follow her opening score and put Limerick ahead 0-3 to 0-1 after 10 minutes.

The Mourne County needed a score, the tempo slowed as Limerick started to hold the ball and tried to increase their lead, Ferris landed a second free 16 minutes in, that left one between them but at the other end McGrath had the chance to cancel it out but it drifted a whisker to the left of the upright. Ferris levelled the tie with her first from plat two minutes later.

On the end of a lovely crossfield kick from Deborah Murphy, Roisin Ambrose had the games first goal chance 20 minutes in, her effort rippling the side netting of the Down goal, a matter of inches from restoring their advantage.

Viv McCormack tried to snatch a goal one minute later, a dropping ball into the square flicked goalwards, the waiting hands of Carol Bateman able to put the danger to bed. Another chance at goal in the 22nd minute was spurned by McGrath, Karen O’Leary found her inside but her shot at goal was left and wide.

McGrath would restore the Limerick lead with a third point going into the final five minutes, Aimee O’Higgins and the ever reliant Bryansford sharpshooter Ferris added scores for a 0-5 to 0-4 lead at the break.

Limerick had a blistering start to the second half as Murphy and O’Leary both added points in the opening three minutes to give the Treaty women a one point lead. Bateman made a stunning save to deny Aoife Brogan a goal chance,

O’Higgins was quick to pounce on a loose ball following an attempt from Laoise Duffy that cracked off the upright, despite plenty of pressure she made zero mistake, levelling the contest once more.

43 minutes into the second half Down hit the crucial score, Orla Swail on the field only a matter of minutes, racing through the Limerick rearguard that was low and hard to the bottom left hand corner past Bateman. Down making them rue those missed goal chances.

Iris Kennelly fresh off the bench made it a two point game inside the final ten minutes of play, but O’Leary saw Yellow and the Shannonsiders had to finish the game with 14. Ferris added her fifth to restore a three point margin, but up from the back Meadhbh Mac Namara pointed for a nervy final minute.

Down passed it around and when the hooter sounded raced onto the field, joy and jubilation as they return to the Intermediate Grade after a year playing Junior, Limerick deflated and now need to pick themselves up for 2024.


1Amy McGivern Goalkeeper
2Aimee Greene Defender
3Ciara Byrne Defender
4Orla Boyle Defender
5Natalie McKibbin Defender
6Meghan Doherty 21 Defender
7Orla Duffy Defender
8Aoife Laverty 28 Midfielder
9Aoife Brogan Midfielder
10Niamh Scullion Forward
11Viv McCormack 18 Forward
12Laoise Duffy Forward
13Eimear Fitzpatrick 27 Forward
14Natasha Ferris Forward 3', 16', 18', 27', 57'
15Aimee O’Higgins 16 Forward 26', 38'
16Kate McKay 15 Forward
17Aisling Cull Forward
18Clara Mulvenna 11 Midfielder
19Erin Sands Forward
20Eve McArdle Defender
21Emily Martin 6 Defender
22Katie Howlett Midfielder
23Neva Loudon Defender
24Niamh King Forward
25Niamh McClorey Forward
26Orlagh Blaney Forward
27Orla Swail 13 Forward 43'
28Paige Smyth 8 Defender
29Bebhionn Rogan Defender
30Alice McAlea Defender


1Carol Bateman Goalkeeper
2Alva Quaid Defender
3Yvonne Lee Defender
4Meadhbh MacNamara Defender 59'
5Grace Lee Defender
6Laura Walshe Defender
7Lauren Ryan Defender
8Roisin Ambrose Midfielder
9Fiona Bradshaw 19 Midfielder
10Deborah Murphy Forward 31'
11Karen O’Leary Forward 33'
12Cathy Mee Forward
13Leah Coughlan Forward
14Amy Ryan 17 Forward
15Caoimhe McGrath 18 Forward 5', 6', 10', 25'
16Sophie Hennessy Goalkeeper
17Iris Kennelly 14 Forward 50'
18Andrea O’Sullivan 15 Forward
19Katie Heelan 9 Defender
20Clare O’Meara Midfielder
21Laoise Browne Forward
22Grainne Mc Kenna Forward
23Anna O’Dea Forward
24Roisin Breedy Forward
25Chloe Brosnahan Forward
26Ellie Woulfe Forward
27Sarah Dillon Defender
28Rose Hyland Forward
29Kate Kennedy Forward
30Amy Curtin Forward

Past Meetings

(Round 3)
1-7 1-13
All Ireland Junior Championship
Newcastlewest GAA


Croke Park
Páirc an Chrócaigh, Jones's Road, Ballybough B ED, Dublin, Dublin 3, Leinster, D01 WY49, Ireland

Diarmuid Kearney is a freelance Sports Journalist based in Co Kerry. He has more than 5 years experience covering domestic and international soccer for different media organisations, while also working for local and national print and digital organisations covering GAA.