by Seamus McAleenan
St Clare Cup final
Cross and Passion Ballycastle 3-6 St Louis Ballymena 2-4
Often it is easier to find your way somewhere if you have travelled the route before.
That thought struck a chord in Loughgiel yesterday as Cross and Passion Ballycastle took their fourth successive St Clare Cup title against a St Louis team that just couldn’t catch them to win their first.
Cross and Passion had the wind behind them in the opening half but despite dominating possessesion they were a little fortunate to establish an early lead and go in ahead by 2-4 to 1-1 at the break.
Riana McBride dropped in a 45 in the fourth minute and it went all the way to the net. Although Riana scored a top-class second goal from a solo run in the 18th minute, St Louis were very much in the game with Mary McKillen pulling her weight at midfield and Aimee Traynor a constant threat up front.
However Riana McBride was the star of the game, eventually finishing with 2-5, while Enya McShane and Cathy McArthur turned plenty of Ballymena attacks at half-back and Aine Magill and Nuala Devlin put in an industrious shift at midfield.
Those two McBride goals were the highlights of a hard-fought first half, with Mary McKillen’s goal in the 25th minute reviving St Louis spirits.
McKillen opened the second half scoring, but St Louis spurned several good openings during the third quarter and were still 2-5 to 1-3 in arrears when Áine Magill soloed through for a brilliant CPC goal in the 16th minute.
That score left St Louis with too much ground to make up and, despite a superb goal from Aimee Traynor a few minutes later, Cross and Passion collected their fourth Ulster camogie title of the season by a margin of five points.
Cross and Passion : B Ellis, Brid Magill, E Kyle, C O’Hara, C McArthur, E McShane, Ca Heggarty, N Devlin, A Magill 1-0, F Kelly 0-1, R McBride 2-5, 1-2 frees, A Lynn, C O’Kane, Bronach Magill, O Laverty
Subs : N McCaughan for C O’Kane
St Louis (panel): J Blaney, O Stewart, B Delargy, S McIlhatton, M Mulholland, A McCloskey, S Maybin, M Henry, M McKillen 1-4, 0-2 frees, B Laverty, A Traynor 1-0, A McCloskey, K Archibald, K Kelly, C Convery, C Stewart.