Young Saffron’s pipped at the post

Ju7d6353a copyPhotos courtesy of Sean de Cleir 

Antrims Under 16 camogs travelled to a sun soaked Birr in County Offaly on Sunday past to play the next group match of the All Ireland Championship. The squad was depleted somewhat with four of the previous week`s team unavailable due to holiday and work commitments but they still put together an impressive performance coming up short by the narrowest of margins.

Playing against a slight breeze the girls started brightly and traded points with the girls from the faithful county, but nfortunately the Offaly girls got in behind the Antrim rearguard and scored two good goals and tagged on a couple of points to go into the half time whistle leading 2.05 to 0.05.  Antrim had a number of opportunities to close the gap but some wayward shooting kept the gap to six points at the half way stage.

Antrim started slowly in the second half and again traded a series of points with the home team but not narrowing the margin. Antrim then moved Roisin McCormick into the forward line and this immediately changed the dynamics with the young Shamrock player hitting the back of the net within minutes of the switch. This move unsettled the Offaly defence and McCormick was soon through for her second goal which brought her team back on terms. Offaly reacted and the pacey Emma Mulrooney cut through the Antrim defence and despite the best efforts of Kirtsy McFerran in the Antrim goal Mulrooney’s shot found the target to put the home side back in front. This Antrim team doesn`t lie down easy however and once more they battled back and tied the game with Roisin McCormick completing her hat trick as she fired the sliotar to the Offaly net with less than 5 minutes to play. Antrim had their tails up at this stage with the early ball into the forwards creating panic in the Offaly defence, and in the next attack they hit the front with another McCormick point. Still in front with just two minutes to play things looked promising for the young Saffrons but a determined Offaly showed courage and steel as they grabbed the last two points through two placed balls, one from a 45 and the other from a free. Antrim did have one opportunity to secure the victory or get a draw in the dying seconds but he ball flashed wide of the Offaly upright and the referee blew for full time.

Another battling display by Antrim and though they never quite hit the heights of last week when they beat Kilkenny they came ever so close.  Kirsty McFerran had a solid hour in nets while the defence was best served by Caitlin Crawford, Fionnuala Toner, Eilis Kearns and team captain Emma McAreavey. Caoimhe McNaughton ran her socks off in midfield while in the forwards Maura Downey, Mya Quinn and Roisin McCormick carried most threat with McCormick the star of the show with 3 goals and 7 points.

Scorers : Roisin McCormick 3.07 Maura Downey 0.02

ANTRIM

Kirsty McFerran Dunloy
Megan McGarry Loughgiel
Eilis Kearns Dunloy
Emma McAreavey Tir na nOg
Fionnuala Toner Ballycastle
Caitlin Crawford Dunloy
Gemma Black Cushendall
Roisin McCormick Loughgiel
Caoimhe McNaughton Cushendall
Erin Traynor Dunloy
Carla McGarry Loughgiel
Aine Graham Ahoghill
Mya Quinn Creggan
Maeve Kelly Ballycastle
Maura Downey Ahoghill
Orla McKeegan Cushendall
Orla Carey Rasharkin
Cliodhna Marie McStravick Tir na nOg
Aimee Johnston Dunloy
Rachael Bones Tir na nOg
Anna McNeill Cushendall

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