Saffrons outclassed by fantastic Fermanagh

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Junior championshipDYLN9218A

Fermanagh 8-25-0-05 Antrim

By Kevin Herron in Donagh

Antrim ladies were simply outclassed by Fermanagh in their first round TG4 All-Ireland junior championship game at Donagh on Sunday afternoon.

The Erne woman went into the clash knowing victory over the under strength Saffron’s would ensure they topped the group and secured home advantage in the semi-final, while Seamus McKenna’s youthful squad headed to Fermanagh more in hope than expectation.

The hosts made a blistering start and within a minute Eimear Smyth fired past Amy McCarthy in the Antrim goals to make it 1-00-0-00.

Sharon Murphy hit the first point from a converted free for Fermanagh and despite the full-forward being denied a goal opportunity by Amy McCarthy; Murphy found the net at the second time of asking to make it 2-01-0-00 with four minutes on the clock.

Fermanagh were rampant and on six minutes Lisa Maguire charged through and blasted low to the net before scorer of the opener Smyth found her second goal of the game to make it 4-01-0-00 with almost ten minutes on the clock.

The scores continued to flow for the hosts with Murphy adding to her tally of 1-01 with another fine point, Aine McGovern then added her name to the score sheet and further points from Murphy [1] and Smyth [1] made it 4-05-0-00.

Fantastic Fermanagh hit their fifth goal on 13 minutes when Nuala McManus was played through by Smyth and shot past McCarthy and points from Smyth [1] and Murphy [2] made it 5-08-0-00 with ten minutes of the half remaining.

In truth the game was a total mismatch, however the youthful Saffron’s continued to fight and were rewarded when Aoife Taggart split the posts on 21 minutes.

Roisin O’Reilly replied with a point for Fermanagh though Antrim tagged successive points, the first a converted free from captain Eimear Gallagher and the second courtesy of Natasha O’Neill.

Despite their positive end in the final ten minutes, Murphy brought her first-half tally to 1-07 with two late points to give her side a comprehensive 5-11-0-03 lead at the break.

Murphy clocked up her third successive score with a point less than a minute into the second period, though youngster Maeve Laverty responded with a point for the determined Saffron’s who were playing for pride.

Fermanagh then another purple patch with Eimear Smyth, Lisa Maguire, Roisin O’Reilly and Lisa McManus all adding points to the Erne woman’s tally to increase their lead, 5-16-0-04.

Substitute Blaithin Bogue made an instant impact and made it five successive scores on the bounce and midway through the second-half Eimear Smyth found her third goal of the afternoon to make it 6-17-0-04.

It was the turn of another Fermanagh substitute Orlath Leonard to land the next score; a point from play and Roisin O’Reilly added a further score to her tally for the afternoon.

Aoife Taggart landed the Saffron’s fifth and final score of a long afternoon for her side on the 52 minute to make it 6-19-0-05.

With five minutes remaining Aisling Woods got in on the act with a smart low finish past McCarthy, and points followed from Smyth and goal scorer Woods as well as substitute Bogue [2].

There was still time for Eimear Smyth to secure her fourth goal of the game in the final minute and in injury-time land the final score of a long afternoon to wrap up a 8-25-0-05 win for the Erne woman on a demoralising afternoon for the young Saffrons.

Seamus McKenna’s side must somehow lift themselves for a clash with Derry in two weeks time, the winners of which will progress to the All-Ireland semi-final and face the winners of Group A.

Fermanagh: R Gleeson, E Campbell, C Murphy, N McManus, M Connolly, S Hamilton, A Maguire, M McDonald, A McGovern (0-01), A Woods (1-02), R O’Reilly (0-03), L Maguire (1-01), E Smyth (4-05,0-01f), S Murphy (1-8,0-01f), N McManus (1-01). Subs: E McMahon for M Connolly (41 mins), B Bogue (0-03) for S Murphy (44 mins), O Leonard (0-01) for N McManus (47 mins), E Murphy for E Campbell (51 mins), S Britton for R O’Reilly (51 mins).

Antrim: A McCarthy, K Rafferty, C Madden, E Carey, M Laverty (0-01), C Dahunsi, C Brammeld, N Enright, O Corr, C Taggart, E Gallagher (0-01f), N O’Neill (0-01), A Scullion, A Taggart (0-02), H McKeever. Subs: C McCorry for C Brameld (35 mins),  MT Fleming for N O’Neill (46 mins), D Clarke for H McKeever (47 mins), C Doone for M Laverty (50 mins),  H McKeever for A Scullion (54 mins).

Referee: Declan Callaghan (Donegal)


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