Dunloy battle back in epic semi-final

Antrim Camogie Under 16 Championship semi-final

Ballycastle 3-4  Dunloy 1-13

Dunloy battled back from eight points down at the start of the second half to beat Ballycastle by three in a thrilling Under 16 Camogie Championship semi-final at Pairc MacUilin on Monday evening. After leading by seven at half time Ballycastle appeared to have one foot in the final when Nuala Devlin pointed early in the second half to put the home side eight clear. However that was to be their last score of the game and slowly but surely Dunloy edged their way back into the game. The McQuillan’s girls were still a point ahead as the game entered injury time but in the eight minutes injury time Dunloy picked off the points to seal a final meeting with Loughgiel.

When the sides met two weeks ago in the Feis final Ballycastle came out on top of a hard fought battle and it was clear from the start of this game that little quarter would be ask or given between these two excellent teams. The home team started well with two Riana McBride points from frees but Cassie McArthur soon had Dunloy on the scoreboard with an eleventh minute point. Nuala Devlin gave Ballycastle’s chances a great boost when she soloed through for a goal on ten minutes but Aine Magill and Cassie McArthur replied with two points for Dunloy.

As the rain fell in torrents Erin McFetridge grabbed Ballycastle’s second goal and when Riana McBride got in for the third they were eight ahead, though Cassie McArthur closed the gap to seven just before the half time whistle.

Nuala Devlin restored the eight point cushion just after the restart and despite facing strong breeze the home team appeared to be in a strong position. However Aine Magill was driving the Dunloy revival from midfield and three points from her in a five minute spell brought her team back into contention. Ballycastle had a chance to regain the upper hand when they were awarded a penalty on fifty minutes but Riana McBride’s well struck shot was saved by Dunloy goalkeeper Emily O’Neill and the danger was cleared.

With four minutes of normal time still to play it looked Ballycastle might hold on but Dunloy’s relentless pressure eventually paid off when Eimear Johnston’s shot found the Ballycastle net

 That score cut the gap to just two and when McArthur added a point in the final minute there was just a single point separating the sides. Ballycastle had chances at the other end but Dunloy full back Kyra Doherty was in brilliant form as she came out with the ball time and time again. Aine Magill eventually brought her team level in the 62nd minute with a brilliant individual point and in the eight minutes added by match referee Mark O’Neill in a stop-start second half Magill and Cassie McArthur (2) added the insurance points.

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