When Con Magees re-entered the Antrim Ladies Gaelic Football Association leagues after a 15 year absence, they opened their campaign on 2nd April away to St Enda’s, where their inexperienced squad came out on the wrong end of a 8-25 to 0-1 defeat. The handful of Glenravel supporters who were there that night might have wondered, why on earth the club were embarking on this journey.
In the intervening 5 months the girls have been on a steep learning curve, taking some heavy defeats, working hard at training, progressing with every week, showing great commitment but most importantly were enjoying the journey. On Sunday evening they played St Enda’s again at Fr Maginn Park, in the first round of the Junior Championship, and what a transformation! In front of a large crowd they showed a remarkable transformation to reverse that heavy defeat of five months ago and book a spot in the semi-final
The opening minutes were competitive championship fare. Kirsty Laverty’s opening minute point was shortly cancelled out by a Sinead Quinn close range free. Laoise McKenna tore through the heart of the St Enda’s defence to land a 9th minute point. At this stage the game was flowing well and advantage swung to the Glengormley girls when Alicia Donaghy rifled the ball past Joie O’Hagan in the Glenravel nets. The green & white response was swift as within a couple of minutes the industrious Ellen Hynds netted to restore a slender 1 point advantage to Con Magees. Both teams had several chances to add to their scores but a combination of wayward shooting & good defending from both teams kept the scoreboard silent until Hynds and McKenna again scored points to leave the half time score 1-4 to 1-1.
Playing with whatever breeze there was in the second half Torrie Edgar hit an early point to increase their lead to 4 points. The Glenravel girls we’re beginning to dominate the midfield sector and drove some quality ball into the forwards. This platform lead to a magical three minute spell midway through the half when the Glenravel girls scored 2-2 (Ellen Hynds now up to a hat-trick and 2 points from Kirsty Laverty) which broke the resolve of the St Enda’s challenge. Kirsten Edgar added another goal which was quickly followed up by another Hynds point on the 23rd minute. The girls in green were now dominant and tagged on points from Torrie Edgar, Caoimhe McAleenan & 2 from Ellen Hynds, for good measure in the last 4 mins to seal an impressive victory on a score line of 4-12 to 1-1.
This was an impressive performance from the home side who played as a unit and produced leaders all across the pitch. As for St Enda’s, it just wasn’t their night. They are a strong team and will undoubtly bounce back from this result.
Con Magees: Joie O’Hagan, Chloe McAuley, Emma Dillon, Caoimhe McKeown, Eimhear McAleenan, Colleen McNeill, Eimear Higgins, Laoise McKenna (0-2), Justine O’Hagan, Dervla Donaghy, Kirsten Edgar (1-0), Caoimhe McAleenan (0-1), Kirsty Laverty (0-3), Torie Edgar (0-2), Ellen Hynds (3-4), Siobhan McMullan, Pauline McKeown, Keira O’Neill, Aisling Kerr, Claire Laverty, Claire Donnelly, Maeve Donaghy, Lucy Carey, Nicole Laverty, Danielle Scally, Anita McKeown, Molly Woulahan, Lauren Carey
St Enda’s: Ashling Hughes, Laoiseach Jennings, Alicia Bartlett, Lisa Marie Maskey, Dervla O’Connor, Maya McCathie, Cliodhna Kane, Claire Crummey, Jane McNulty, Sinead Quinn (0-1), Niamh Morgan, Molly McAuley, Orla McNulty, Maeve Higgins, Alicia Donaghy (1-0), Teresa Maskey, Mairead Murray, Niamh Magee, Orlaith Murray
In Sunday’s other quarter finals Rossa knocked out highly fancied All Saints, Gort na Mona put up a large score against Sarsfields while St Galls had plenty to spare against Creggan. The semi-final pairings see Rossa V Gort na Mona with Glenravel facing St Galls, another major task for this new team, but with such a great win behind them one which they face with confidence.
Pics by Dylan McIlwaine