Antrim Fire Stop & Seal Ltd Senior Championship Final
Loughgiel 5-20 Ruairí Óg Cushendall 1-4
WHEN Caitrin Dobbin opened her account in the 14th minute of this Antrim Fire Stop & Seal Ltd senior championship final in Armoy on Saturday afternoon, all six Loughgiel forwards had hit the target and they led by 2-5 to 0-0 and the ‘drive for five’ was well and truly on course.
Christine Laverty and Racquel McCarry were the goal-scorers in that flurry of first quarter activity that illustrated the range of scoring options facing a young Ruairí Óg team appearing in the club’s first senior final in 18 years.
If they managed to shut down one area another avenue to the posts quickly opened and the Shamrocks were able to move the sliotar around with accuracy and pace stretching the over-worked Cushendall defence with Lucia McNaughton emerging as the Player of the Match in what was essentially a superb team performance.
While the losers fought from start to finish with Dervla Cosgrove and Orlagh O’Hara their main force in carrying ball forward, and Coleen Patterson doing well at half-back, but their defence was always under pressure against such a highly talented unit.
Indeed the score-board had moved to 2-10 before O’Hara tapped over the first of her two frees and the teams turned over at 2-12 to 0-2, with Cushendall now having the wind in their favour.
However an early point from Roisin McCormick and a goal from Aisling McFadden didn’t allow the sea-siders to gain any momentum.
Racquel Murphy, who had been relatively quiet in the first half by her high standards, was starting to hit her stride hand when she fired in her team’s fourth goal after a well worked free, the game was as good as won. Cushendall hit their best spell of the game with an unanswered 1-2 between the 47th and 53rd minutes, the goal due to the quick reactions of Orlagh O’Hara who drilled a low ball to the net following a goalmouth scramble.
However it was no more than a brief respite with Roisin McCormick racing through to crash home a fifth goal near the close, the team’s 23rd score from open play.
The Shamrocks have now achieved a perfect record in Antrim adult camogie this season, winning Junior, Intermediate and Senior. The win completes a senior five in a row as they set their sights on an Ulster title-fight with Slaughtneil.
Incidentally the last team to complete a five in a row in Antrim were Rossa who went on to take the first ever All-Ireland club title north in 2008. Slaughtneil’s three-in-row provincial and national bid could be under threat, but that is for another day, and in the meantime this excellent team will enjoy their deserved celebrations.
Dylan McIlwaine presents the Saffron Gael Player of the Match trophy to Loughgiel’s Lucia McNaughton. Lucia also received the Antrim county Player of the Match award.
Loughgiel : M Coyle, C Campbell, L Connolly, F McVeigh, M Lynn, M Connolly capt, C Laverty, A Boyle, E McFadden, C Boyle, R McCormick 1-4, 0-1 free, L McNaughton 0-5, C Laverty 1-1, C Dobbin 0-3, R Murphy 2-2, A McFadden 1-3.
Subs : C Higgins 0-1 for C Boyle, E McMullan 0-1 for C Laverty,
Ruairí Óg : N Cosgrove, A McClafferty, C Kearney capt., C McKillop, C Patterson, L McMullan, C McNaughton, D Cosgrove 0-1 free, S McKillop, O O’Hara 1-3, 0-2 frees, E Leech, N McCurry, N McQuillan, S Cosgrove, B Abram.
Referee : Michael Hardy (Rasharkin)