Donnelly hauls Ballycastle back but Dunloy snatch a deserved point

by John McIlwaine

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Naimh Donnelly who hauled Ballycastle back the brink in their league draw with Dunloy

All County Camogie League Division 1

Ballycastle 3-7 Dunloy 2-10

A magnificent display by midfielder Naimh Donnelly dragged Ballycastle back from the edge of defeat and earned them a share of the spoils in Tuesday evening’s Division 1 Camogie League game at Pairc MacUilin. With her team trailing by six points with twelve minutes of normal time left to play Donnelly scored two goals and two points in the last fifteen minutes to turn the game on its head. Her third goal of the game on sixty two minutes appeared to have given the Castle all three points but deep in injury time Jacinta Dixon earned her team a well-deserved draw with her eighth pointed free of the match.

Dixon put Dunloy ahead from a close range free in the fourth minute before Naimh O’Neill brought Ballycastle level two minutes later. Naimh Donnelly’s first telling contribution of the game came on fourteen minutes when a long delivery from midfield went all the way to the Cuchullain’s net, but that lead was short lived as a surging run from midfielder Caitlin Crawford set up full forward Chloe Drain for a goal inside thirty seconds. That goal lifted the visitors and they pulled three points clear with scores from Michaela Elliott, Chloe Drain and Jacinta Dixon who fired over a great free from 60 metres. Ballycastle ended a ten minute scoreless spell when Naimh Donnelly  pointed a free from out on the left sideline in the twenty fourth minute and Naimh O’Neill added one from play to cut the gap to a single point, but Dixon grabbed her third point of the half just before half time to give her team a 1-5 to 1-3 lead.

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Ballycastle’s Naimh A Donnelly and Dunloy’s Michaela Elliott battle for the ball

A brilliantly taken goal by corner forward Catriona Maybin in the first minute of the second half put Dunloy in command and three Dixon points from frees, in reply to two by Ballycastle’s Naimh Donnelly, had them six clear in the forty fifth minute. Donnelly had been her team’s leading light for most of the game but she stepped it up another notch when her team needed it most. Points in the forty seventh and forty eight minutes got Ballycastle back in contention and when she blasted a twenty metre free to the net five minute from time the gap was down to two. Dixon came back with another point from a free in injury time but straight from the puck-out Donnelly soloed through and fired in her third goal off the inside of the post to put her team ahead for the first time since the fourth minute of the match. With the clock ticking past the sixty five minute mark it appeared that the ‘Town’ girls had grabbed both points but in the seconds that remained Dixon struck her eighth free high between the Ballycastle posts to earn her team a deserved share of the spoils.

Ballycastle

Aoife McGowan, Naimh A Donnelly, Maria Donnelly, Bronagh McKeague, Catherine McShane, Emma Connor, Cliodhna Donnelly, Naimh Donnelly, Michaela Beattie, Meabh O’Neill, Naimh O’Neill, Aoife Toner, Laura Dallas, Kathryn Donnelly, Aine Donnelly

Dunloy

Lisa McAllistar, Katherine Mullan, Leanne Reid, Danielle Quinn, Katherine Boyle, Sinead Martin, Caoimhe Conlon, Kirsty Ingram, Caitlin Crawford, Erin Elliott, Jacinta Dixon, Mary Martin, Catriona Maybin, Chloe Drain, Michaela Dixon

Referee – Ryan O’Reilly (Glenravel)

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