Ruairi Ogs Lift First Minor Title

Back in 2014 Cushendall caused a shock when they won the Minor Camogie Championship. They had beaten pre tournament favourites Loughiel in the opening round in Cushendall and went on to beat Dunloy in the semi-final in Ballycastle. Geralines Portglenone came through the other section during the opening half it appeared that they were in with a good chance of victory, but the Cushendall team (managed by Sean Pual McKillop, John Carson and Bill Cosgrove) really hit form in the second half to secure the club’s first title at this grade.


                                     Ruairi Og Cushendall 3-8

                                    Geraldine’s Portglenone 0-5

The first club championship title was decided on Easter Monday at a sun kissed All Saints Ballymena as Cushendall and Geraldines Portglenone contested the Minor A final.  A dominant second half ensured the Ruairi Og girls would see their name engraved on the Joe Herald Memorial Cup on Monday night.

The opening half was a very close affair and little was to separate both teams throughout.  Geraldines ‘keeper Aoibhin Agnew was called on early in the game as she had to make a double save in the second minute before Sinead Cosgrove registered the first score of the game and Niamh O’Neill followed this up a minute later with a fine point from play. Geraldines had the game level by the eight minute through Roisin Kelly and Emma McAleese.  A Jane McAleese free from the sideline found Roisin Kelly and the corner forward turned and pointed from play.  Niamh McKee was fouled three minutes later and Emma McAleese pointed the resultant free from an acute angle.  Geraldines then took the lead for the first time as the superb Aine Mulholland started the move in her own full back line.  Niamh McKee and Emma McAleese combined up front to set Jane McAleese up to point from twenty metres out.  Roisin Kelly was on hand again to extend the Geraldines lead half way through the first half as she was again on the receiving end of a long free from her defence, rounded her marker and pointed from play.  Just when Paul McKee’s side looked to be gaining a slight edge over Cushendall, they were dealt a harsh blow as a Niamh O’Neill’s 13th minute shot came off one of the Geraldines defenders hurls and slipped past Aoibhin Agnew.  This edged Cushendall back in front 1-2 to 0-4.  Sinead Cosgrove was quickest to react to a Dervla Cosgrove free as she collected possession and pointed from distance in the 16th minute.  This point was quickly cancelled out by Roisin Kelly who scored her third point from play to keep it a one point game.  Cushendall began to get on top in all areas of the pitch and Geraldines defence was under a lot of pressure.  A strong run from Tierna Carson five minutes before half time could have killed the game off but Una Doherty timed her tackle to perfection to block Tierna’s goal bound effort.  Cushendall did have the final say of the half as Sinead Cosgrove and Niamh O’Neill combined to turn over possession in the Geraldines back line and Niamh pointed her second point of the half which saw her side lead 1-4 to 0-5 at half time.

The second half belonged to Cushendall and they had tagged on another point courtesy of Tierna Carson as quickly as the 23rd second of the half as her side went on the attack straight from the throw in.  When Niamh O’Neill was fouled two minutes later, Dervla Cosgrove’s free opened up a four point gap between the teams.  Geraldines did have two goal chances in quick succession but Cushendall ‘keeper Sarah Kane did well to save from Kirsty McLeod and Roisin Kelly.  Geraldines needed a score at this stage but Cushendall gradually pulled away from their opponents.  Another Dervla Cosgrove free (35th minute) was quickly followed by a second Cushendall goal.  Aoibhin Angew reacted superbly to stop Tierna Carson’s shot but substitute Clodagh McAllister was on hand to push the ball to the net.  Cushendall now led 2-7 to 0-5 and despite having the majority of possession, they did not score for the next ten minutes of the game.  Geraldines defence was under a huge amount of pressure but Niamh Kelly, Aine Mulholland and Una Doherty worked tirelessly to deny the girls in maroon and white more scoring opportunities.    1-1 from play in the last two minutes of the game from Clodagh McAllister ensured the Minor championship title would be making its way to the Glens for the first time as Cushendall emerged victorious on a score line of 3-8 to 0-5. 

Credit to the Geraldines team who never gave up but were simply beaten by a stronger and more powerful Cushendall side.  Aine Mulholland was the stand out player for the Geraldines and was ably assisted by Una Doherty, Niamh Kelly and Jane McAleese throughout the game. Once the Ruairi Og’s got their hold on the game, they were dominant and denied Geraldines any scores in the second half.  They were very worthy winners.  Tara O’Neill was solid at the back and her defence was the catalyst for many Cushendall attacks from which Niamh O’Neill, Sinead Cosgrove and Tierna Carson caused Geraldines problems throughout the game. 

Geraldine’s team & scorers:  Aoibhin Agnew, Aine Mulholland, Una Doherty, Niamh Kelly, Sephora O’Connell, Kirsty McLeod, Jane McAleese (0-1), Geana Convery, Erin Henry, Emma McAleese (0-1 f), Roisin Kelly (0-3) & Niamh McKee.  Subs:  Lauren Craig for Sephora O’Connell, Rebecca Morrison  and Niamh Dobbin.

Cushendall team & scorers:  Sarah Kane, Clodagh McKillop, Tara O’Neill, Siobhan McKillop, Clare Kearney, Annie Leech, Dervla Cosgrove (0-2 f), Orla McNaughton, Niamh O’Neill (1-2), Tierna Carson (0-1), Molly McLaughlin, Sinead Cosgrove (0-2), Aimee McDonnell.  Subs:  Mary Kane, Sinead Convery, Clodagh McAllister (2-1), Orlaith McAllister, Cliodhna McManus, Fiona McDonnell & Leah Cosgrove. 

Referee:  Vincent Boyle (Dunloy)


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