Antrim Ladies Minor Football Championship (Semi-final)
Con Magees Glenravel 5-06 St Ergnat’s Moneyglass 4-08
By Geordie McGuckin
‘Goals win games’ is the old adage oft times applied and indeed such was to prove apt once again as a couple of ‘majors’ arriving in the closing minutes of the Antrim ladies minor football championship under the illuminations afforded by the floodlights at Toome on Monday evening secured victory and a place in the county final for the girls from Glenravel as they came from away off the pace to head the front running Moneyglass right on the post.
The St Ergnat’s girls had led from flagfall and took respite afforded by the short blast with a 2-05 to 1-01 advantage and although they did face a stiff breeze in the second half and the Con Magees side had reduced deficit to a couple of points when Aimee Traynor had the ball in the net with less than five minutes on the clock they offered quick reply as Orla Prenter found the net at the other end within a minute.
The Glenravel girls were not to settle for second best however and producing a storming finish with late call up Niamh Donnelly raising three late white flags and Aimee Traynor adding a second goal those late, late scores ensured a stunning comeback to clinch a place in the final.
Moneyglass started burdened with the favourites tag and although the St Ergnat’s girls found the Glenravel defensive unit standing tall in defiance in the opening period in which the St Ergnat’s enjoyed the favours of the fresh westerly breeze.
Orla Donnelly was proving defiant in her role between the posts from the outset and making several outstanding saves throughout with fill back Maria Mc Kenna and Alisha Mc Peake making interceptions to deny.
Moneyglass with Maria O’ Neill leading the way in the offensive in which both Niamh Mc Keefrey and Enya Carey were catching the eye gained early advantage as the former placed Beverly Graffin to grab the opening goal with Niamh Mc Keefrey following with a point.
It took the Con Magees girls a time to get their bearings on the Toome sod but they were off the mark in the 13th minute when Ellen Hynds raised a white flag and when a well laid counter which involved Bronagh Laverty, Niamh Mc Kay and Aimee Traynor in approach opened the way to the posts again Ellen Hynds followed up with a goal.
Moneyglass did have a plentiful supply of possession in the second quarter with a superb ‘solo’ approach from the gifted Maria O’ Neill saw the skill laden centre forward conclude with a superbly crafted goal and although Niamh Mc Keefrey went on to grab another couple of points and Beverly Graffin added another, the Glenravel defensive unit were proving strong in their resistance.
The St Ergnat’s side were at 2-05 to 1-01 at the break but a resilient Glenravel defense had intervened on more than a few occasions to deny the advancing blue and gold and indeed net minder Orla Donnelly was seen to make several excellent saves.
Despite facing the elements in the second half with the breeze accompanied at times by drizzle Moneyglass continued seemingly still in charge and an early Niamh Mc Keefrey goal was followed by points apiece through Maria O’ Neill and the hard grafting Enya Carey .
Glenravel were gaining composure in the attack however with the strong running Niamh Mc Kay and Aimee Traynor causing concern within the Moneyglass rearguard, and when the former raced through the middle to find the net the Con Magees were on the march.
Moneyglass did still look in charge but the Glenravel girls were intent to remain on the comeback trail and in with the pace laden Aimee Traynor causing problems with her direct approach back to back goals bagged in turn by full forward Ellen Hynds and the former saw them within reach and only a couple of points in arrears of the pace setting Moneyglass.
The sands of time were running out as the St Ergnat’s girls made a bid for home as a 57th minute Orla Prenter goal after another strong approach from Maria O’ Neill opened the way for the late replacement.
St Ergnat’s appeared to be on their way to the decider but Glenravel were not about to accept what looked inevitable and in the dramatic closing minutes, including several added at the discretion of the man in the middle, Niamh Donnelly raised back to back whites in the 58th and 59th minutes from placed efforts and after Aimee Traynor nipped in to add a 62nd minute goal the former held her nerve, to supply the winner from a 64th minute free and the comeback was complete.
A stunning comeback sees the Con Magees make the minor final for the first time, and a date with either St Paul’s or St Gall’s in the decider.
Referee Barry Hotchkiss (Glenavy)
Orla Donnelly, Alishia Mc Peake, Maria Mc Kenna, Aoife Kelly, Caoimhe Mc Keown, Bronagh Laverty, Bronagh Mc Kay, Chloe Mc Auley, Maeve Mulholland, Aislin Kerr, Clare Emerson (0-01), Niamh Mc Kay (0-01), Aimee Traynor (2-00), Ellen Hynds (2-01), Niamh Donnelly (1-03)
Jamie Woulahan for A Kerr; Brigid Delargy for Aoife Kelly
Mairead Mc Closkey, Molly Mc Coy, Ciara Madden, Jude Mc Coy, Saoirse Mc Erlean, Eimear Mc Areavey, Katie Scullion, Cliona Griffin, Caitlin Martin, Maria O’ Neill (1-01), Enya Carey (0-01), Niamh Mc Keefrey(1-04), Beverly Graffin (1-02), Niamh Martin
Katie Bovill for M Higgins
Orla Prenter (1-00) for B Graffin