By Seamus McAleenan
The draws have taken place for the 87th Antrim senior camogie championship sponsored by Fire Stop & Seal Ltd and five in a row chasing Loughgiel will play Portglenone in the quarter-finals.
The Shamrocks have been unbeaten in Division 1 of the Antrim league this season and will be clear favourites, not only to take out Portglenone in early August, but to go the whole way to extend their record haul of titles to 21.
Potentially their biggest challenge will come in the semi-final where they meet the winners from an opening round fixture between Dunloy and last season’s beaten finalists Ballycastle. Dunloy were the last club to defeat Loughgiel – in a shock first round knock-out in 2013.
In the other side of the draw, 2013 winners Rossa, who have collected all their 10 crowns since the turn of the millennium will play Cushendall.
Loughgiel also won the Darragh Coaches Antrim Intermediate championship last year, defeating first time finalists Brídíní Óga Glenravel in the decider – although the latter went on to represent Antrim in the Ulster series reaching the final.
The pair came out in opposite sides of the draw and would be tipped to reach the final again. Loughgiel will play the winners from 2016 winners St John’s Belfast and Ballycastle in one semi-final, while the Glenravel girls must travel to Randalstown for a difficult opener against Tír na nÓg, the team they narrowly defeated in last season’s quarter-final.
The winner here will be up against last year’s Junior champions Dunloy or Cargin.
The Junior championship should be the most competitive of all the grades in Antrim with 11 teams attempting to follow Dunloy to the title and all the games squeezed into a three week window between August 17th and September 7th.
Hence teams that avoid a preliminary round fixture may well be in better shape to reach the decider.
FIRE STOP & SEAL Ltd ANTRIM SENIOR CAMOGIE CHAMPIONSHIP
A Dunloy v Ballycastle
B Portglenone v Loughgiel
Semi-finals : A v B and Rossa v Cushendall
DARRAGH COACHES – INTERMEDIATE CHAMPIONSHIP
QUARTER-FINALS: Thursday 9 August (replay Thursday 16 August)
Tír na nÓg v Brídíní Óga
Ballycastle II v St John’s
Dunloy II v Cargin
Loughgiel II bye
SEMI-FINALS: Saturday 1 September (replay Thursday 6 September)
Tír na nÓg/ Brídíní Óga v Dunloy II /Cargin
Loughgiel II v Ballycastle II / St John’s
FINAL: Sunday 16 September (replay Sunday 23 September)
DOHERTY WOODSHAVINGS – JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
PRE-LIMS: Friday 17 August (replay Tuesday 21 August)
A St Enda’s v Rasharkin
B Gortnamona v Rossa II
C St Paul’s v Armoy
QUARTER-FINALS: Friday 24 August (replay Tuesday 28 August)
1. Creggan v A
2. B v Ahoghill
3. Brídíní Óga v Ballycastle III
4. C v Loughgiel III
SEMI-FINALS: Thursday 30 & Friday 31 August (replay Monday 3 September)
Brídíní Óga /Ballycastle III v Creggan/St Enda’s/Rasharkin
St Paul’s / Armoy /Loughgiel III v Gortnamona /Rossa II/ Ahoghill
FINAL: Friday 7 September (replay Monday 10 September)