by Michael Costello
Ulster Senior Camogie Final 2017
-Derry 1-13 Antrim 0-09
Antrim will look back on this game with regret as they really looked a better side than Derry, but sadly only for the first twenty minutes of the game. The Saffrons came out flying and ran up a five point lead with all their points from play via Emily Falloon, Maédhbh Laverty, Emma Connor, and Niamh Donnelly with two points. Karen Kielt took Derry’s first point from a free but Katie McAleese soon replied with an Antrim free and at 6 points to 1 for Antrim the Saffrons looked set for a great day. Little did onlookers think that they would only manage one more point before half time (from Orlagh O’Hara) and that Derry would take complete control and lead by the interval. As the visitors dominance disappeared the industrious Áine McAllister, Janet McGuickin and Kielt(f) nibbled away at Antrim’s lead. The Saffrons appeared to be running out of steam towards half time and a Mairéad McNicholl goal on her home pitch, plus a third Kielt free followed by an Aine Kelly point sent the Oak Leaf girls in at half time with a 1-06 to 0-07 advantage.
Antrim attempted to ring the changes for the second half with Emma McFadden coming on to battle hard around midfield, but the Antrim forwards looked as ineffective in the second half as they had looked impressive in the early part of the first half ,despite an early Maédhbh Laverty point and Derry took total control. Katie McAleese scored Antrim’s only other point of the day as Gráinne McNicholl drove Derry on ,taking two fine points herself. Kielt converted two more frees and despite bringing on Michaela Elliot up front and Cliodhna Donnelly in midfield, Antrim backs were very much against the wall as Derry ran out worthy winners by a final score of 1-13 to 0-09.
Derry’s Aine McAllister won Laoch na hImeartha (player of the game). Antrim captain Aileen McManus put in a great shift as did goalie Noeleen Cosgrove, full back Katherine Donnelly and half back Niamh Donnelly in particular played very well but Antrim had a number of players strangely out -of-sorts in this final an it was not to be their day. Despite this Aidan McKeown and Joe Baldwin have a young panel with a number of minors on the point of breaking through so their all-Ireland campaign starting next weekend should be something for them to look forward to.
Antrim line-out- N.Cosgrove, L. Reid, K.Donnelly, C.Patterson, S. Martin, A. McManus(Capt.), N.Donnelly, A.Mulholland, A.Kelly, N.McQuillan, K.McAleese, E.Connor, M.Laverty, E.Falloon, O.O’Hara .Subs used- E. McFadden, M. Elliot, C. Donnelly
Derry Line-Out -N.McQuillan, R. Bradley, B. Ní Chaiside, S. Donaghy, G.McNicholl, A.Ní Chaiside (capt), A. McCusker, K. Keilt, A.McAllister, A.Devlin, J. McGuickin, A.Kelly, M.McNicholl, M. Hegarty, D.O’Kane.