Report and pics by Michael Costello
Kildare 3-12 Antrim 3-10
Antrim camogs travelled to Clane in County Kildare on a high following a good home win over Tipperary last weekend but the number of injuries sustained during the week left management with a much smaller squad than they would have expected to bring with them. Half of the Antrim defence from last weekend were unavailable including Kathryn Donnelly, Leanne Reid and Captain Aileen McManus who has an ankle fracture. In addition to this two other key squad players in Caoimhe McAleenan and Nuala McQuillan were unfit for selection. Nevertheless Antrim took the field with the emphasis on youth in a line- out featuring current year minor players Cliodhna Donnelly, Áine Donnelly ,Caoimhe Wright and Emily Falloon.
Antrim won the toss and choose to face the stiff breeze blowing straight down the Clane pitch. Emer Reilly opened the scoring with a free for the home team but Antrim wasted no time in forcing themselves into the game as Katie McAleese replied with an accurate free and Orlagh O’Hara barnstormed a goal after a clever through ball from Emily Falloon. An exchange of frees then saw Susie O’Carroll and Reilly pointing for Kildare and Katie McAleese converting a brace for the Saffrons. Kildare came back hard with points from captain Siobhan Hurley and another from veteran O’Carroll but Antrim exploded into action in the form of Cushendall’s Orlagh O’Hara who in the space of five minutes hammered over two great points from play and then forced the sliotar over the line for her second goal. Following her goal O’Hara was clearly pushed and kicked on the leg by the Kildare goalie, an offence which strangely went unpunished and which resulted in Orlagh requiring treatment. The Lilywhites responded with a couple of points via Louise Keatley and a Reilly free but Antrim finished the first half ahead following a neatly taken free from McAleese.
Half time Kildare 0-07 Antrim 2-06
The second half began very well for the visitors as Dunloy’s speedy forward Michaela Elliot took two consecutive points from play to give Antrim a 7 Point cushion but in their eagerness to push forward and seal the game Antrim left the back door open and Kildare pulled back two very soft goals scrambled home by O’Carroll and substitute Melissa Lyons in a short space of time . Undaunted , the Saffrons pressurised the home defence and McAleese converted two more frees but the tide started to turn against Antrim when a mix- up in the half back line let Keatley through for a third Kildare goal. Three successive O’Carroll points from placed balls left Antrim trailing but they never stopped trying and when Eimhear Costello was pulled down in a promising forward run, the resultant free from some 20 metres was smashed into the roof of the Kildare net by Orlagh O’Hara for the best score of the day. Only a point behind , Antrim laid siege to the Kildare net but despite their frantic efforts, luck deserted them as a late point from an unmarked O’Carroll gave the home team a two point win which they barely deserved. In truth Antrim were the better team for large sections of this game but lady luck smiled on the Lilywhites in Clane and the Saffrons must now look to get something from next week’s trip to Wexford, which is a tall order for any team. Antrim had heroes in every area of the pitch today and Aidan McKeown’s young panel is fast acclimatising itself to the rigors of inter- county camogie. This game today was in stark comparison to the 7 point defeat Antrim suffered at the hands of Kildare in Newbridge in March of this year. Orlagh O’Hara’s score of 3-02 was a great day’s work and Emma Connor was superb at full back, while Anna Kelly drove forward extremely well from midfield.
Antrim line out- N.Cosgrove, C.Donnelly, E.Connor, C.Patterson, N.Donnelly, E. McFadden, S. Martin,
A.Kelly, E.Costello, M. Elliot , K.McAleese, M.Laverty, O.O’Hara, E. Falloon, C.Wright. Subs. S.Woulahan. A.Donnelly. S. Armstrong.
Antrim scorers -O.O’Hara 3-02 K.McAleese 0-06F M. Elliot 0-02
Kildare lineout- A.Hyland , K. Perkins, A. Conway, N.Hegarty, D.Byrne, A. Trant, C. Flanaghan , L.Keatley, E.Reilly, C. Egan, S.Hurley, L. Sutton, R.O’Connell, L. Murray, S.O’Carroll Sub M.Lyons