Brídíní Óga battle past Tír na nÓg in tough contest

Darragh’s Joinery Antrim Intermediate Camogie Championship

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Brídíní Óga’s Kirslty Laverty goes past the challenge of Tír na nÓg’s Sinead McCann and Caoimhe Crossey during Friday evening’s Intermediate Championship game at Fr Maginn Park

Brídíní Óga 5-10 Tír na nÓg 3-8

By Seamus McAleenan

Going into this opening game in the Intermediate championship in Fr Maginn Park tonight, there was a question mark over how last season’s Antrim and Ulster Junior champions, Brídíní Óga, would perform. The club had opted to play in Division 1 to gain more experience, but had shipped heavy defeats in all ten of their league games and struggled to get over the line in the Junior Feis against Ballycastle. By contrast Tír na nÓg were coming off a strong Division 2 campaign that has them in second spot behind runaway winners Loughgiel. Overall however tonight the home team was the stronger over the hour with the capacity to create more scoring chances, while the visitors relied heavily on the excellent free-taking of Áine Devlin to stay in contention right up until the last five minutes. Laoise McKenna and her defence were generally in control, while the strong running of both Shauna Kelly and Kirsty Laverty, the cross-field passing of Caoimhe McAleenan and the pace in possession of Ashling Ward all created problems for the visiting defence. However the likes of Caoimhe Crossey, Sinead McCann, Emily Falloon and the midfield pairing of Áine Devlin and Shauna O’Neill fought like tigers and there was always the possibility that they could sneak ahead at any point. The head to head of county minors Ellen Hynds and Áine Devlin was one of the highlights of a good standard championship tie.

Although Áine Devlin opened the scoring with an early Tír na nÓg point from a free, the home side settled with scores from Caoimhe McAleenan, Ashling Ward and Kirsten Edgar and led 0-3 to 0-2 at the end of the opening quarter. Ashling Ward ripped up the yards to fire home the opening goal in the 18th minute and when she grabbed a second in the 23rd the Glenravel girls were on their way with a 2-5 to 0-3 lead. However in the five minutes before the break, Tír na nÓg hit 1-2 to leave just a goal dividing the teams at the turnover, 2-5 to 1-5. Áine Devlin scored 1-1, from frees, the goal a long range effort for a point that dipped at the last minute just inside the angle of crossbar and post. With Emily Falloon shooting a point on the whistle, the game was well set up again for the second half.

Emily closed the gap to two points on the resumption, but two Caoimhe McAleenan frees and an excellent angled point from Kirsty Laverty quickly opened it to 2-8 to 1-6. Then came a 41st minute penalty that Áine Devlin fired low to the net. However the home side responded immediately with Ashling Ward taking a pass from Shauna Kelly to fire home her third goal of the tie. Shauna made it 4-8 to 2-7 when she hit the net in the 46th minute despite being off balance from a mazy run. But this time Randalstown showed they were still keen to stay in the tie when a long range strike from Áine Devlin fell handy for Orla O’Neill to poke home. However the twin strike force for Brídíní Óga sealed the win in the 53rd minute with Shauna Kelly taking a pass from Ashling Ward following a goal-mouth scramble to shoot her second goal.

Brídíní Óga are now through to a semi-final meeting with Cargin on Wednesday August 30th. The Toome ladies, who preceded them as Junior championship winners, had knocked out the defending intermediate champions St John’s Belfast last night on a comfortable 7-14 to 3-6 score-line. Ballycastle also made it through last night and will play the winners of the Loughgiel v Creggan tie which has been postponed until next Thursday evening.

Brídíní Óga: Aine Duffin, Lianne Kerr, bernie Convery, Erin McAleese, Eimhear McAleenan, Laoise McKenna, Sian McNeill, Joanne McKeown, Ellen Hynds, Kirsty Laverty 0-2, Shauna Kelly 2-0, Caoimhe McAleenan 0-5, 0-4 frees, Ashling Ward 3-2, Victoria Edgar, Kirsten Edgar 0-1.

Tír na nÓg: Ciara Devine, Aine Dobbin, Caitlin McAreavey, Cameron McGaughey, Caitlin Martin, Caoimhe Crossey, Sinead McCann, Áine Devlin 2-3, 1-2 frees, 1-0 pen., Shauna O’Neill, Caitlin McGaughey, Orla O’Neill 1-0, Emily Falloon 0-4, Aimee McAtamney, Katie McGuckin, Emma Louise McAreavey.

Sub: Niamh Callen for K McGuckin (52).

Referee : Margaret O’Connell (Geraldine’s)

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