Longford manager Diane O’Hora admitted substitutions crucial in Sunday’s Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 4 final victory over Limerick.
Michelle Farrell came off the bench to score the vital second half goal at O'Connor Park in Tullamore, and fellow sub Paula Kenny scored three points as the midlanders finally saw off the dogged challenge of Limerick to seal promotion to Division 3.
Longford, who had a seven-point haul from Claire Greene, were a point down at half-time, 0-5 to 0-6, having dropped no fewer than six balls into the hands of Limerick goalkeeper Martina Giltenane.
But Longford were far more clinical in the second half and a run of six unanswered point in the final ten minutes floored the Shannonsiders, who had a haul of 1-2 from ace forward Dymphna O’Brien.
O’Hora, a former All-Ireland senior medallist with Mayo, reflected: "There were a lot of nerves in the camp before the game and we didn’t do the simple things right in the first half, which was frustrating. Limerick worked very hard and defended very deep – we weren’t able to cope with that.
"It took us some time to get settled as well but we completely settled after five or ten minutes in the second half and played our normal football.
"The changes we made were crucial and came at the right time. The girls that came on did the right things."
Limerick are consigned to another season of Division 4 football as this year, a "one up, one down" system is in operation.
And O’Hora admitted: "With only one team going up, that put awful pressure on us."
Limerick manager Ann Eager believes that it’s an "absolute tragedy" that her team won’t be playing Division 3 football along with Longford next year.
The Kerry native reflected: "We were right in it until about eight minutes to go. We had a spell where we lost concentration and things went pear shaped. Then we had too much to make up but in fairness to our girls, you couldn’t fault them. They gave it absolutely everything and I couldn’t be more proud of them."
Eager added: "It’s an absolute tragedy that we’re not going up. I think two should go up and Diane said that too after the match."
Meanwhile, Catherine Murphy announced her retirement from the intercounty game following Limerick’s defeat.
The Mungret/St Pauls player is stepping down after 20 years in the county shirt.
Scorers for Limerick: D O’Brien 1-2, C O’Riordan 0-2, C Davis, R Browne, J O’Gorman & S Carroll 0-1 each.
Scorers for Longford: C Greene 0-7f, M Farrell 1-0, P Kenny 0-3, A.M. Bratton 0-2, J Brady, L Farrell & A Reynolds 0-1 each.