Ballycastle end Shamrocks great run

Antrim Senior Camogie Championship

McQuillan’s 0.13 Loughgiel 0.11

McQuillan’s senior camogs turned around a 28 point defeat in the league just 2 weeks ago, to grab the points in this much anticipated championship game at Fr Healy Park on Saturday evening. These two teams served up a great encounter in last years senior final where the Shamrocks claimed their 6th Antrim Senior title in a row. It is all of seven years since Loughgiel last lost a game in the Antrim championship, when Dunloy beat them in the opening round of the 2013 championship. However on that occassion it was a straight knock-out but Ballycastle’s win was in the round-robin section and the Shamrocks are still very much in the competition.

Ballycastle who got off the mark sharply with two points from play from Caoimhe Wright and Maeve Kelly narrowly missing goal after having dispossessed Eimear Boyle after making a fine save. Loughgiel responded quickly levelling the game with a Roisin McCormick free and Lucia McNaughton storming through the middle having collected a crossed ball from Catrin Dobbin to level the game at 0.2 each. Both defences were doing sterling work with Megan McGarry shoring up the Loughgiel defence while Enya McShane and Orla Donnelly were thwarting the Loughgiel attack. It was Ballycastle who continued to pile on the pressure with 2 more points from Caoimhe Wright, one from a 45 to go two ahead at the first water break.

 Roisin McCormick struck a free over on the resumption of play with Catrin Dobbin pointing from the wing to level the scores for the second time. This was to be the last score of the half for the reigning champions as Ballycastle raised their game with a superb point from midfield Emma Laverty and Caoimhe Wright converting three frees to leave the Town leading by 0.8 to 0.4 at half time.

Loughgiel started the second half sharply and looked to be getting back on terms after points from play from Emma McMullan and Anna Connolly, however these were soon cancelled out by points from Wright and Kelly. Loughgiel pushed on with fine work from Amy Boyle and Lucia McNaughton in midfield, with Emma Mc Mullan coming deeper to gain ball as she sent over three unanswered points. Roisin McCormick, who was having a superb battle with Maebh O’Neill, levelled the game just before the final water break, with both teams on 0.10 apiece. The final 15 minutes saw Ballycastle girls dig deep with a brilliantly taken point from play from Nuala Devlin, who had moved out the field and was causing problems for Loughgiel defence with her fast pace and direct running with the ball. Riana McBride also added another point to give a 2 point cushion before Emma McMullan sent the ball over to reduce the gap once again to a single point.

Loughgiel pushed hard for scores but were kept at bay by the strong defence including captain Niamh Donnelly and Kathryn Donnelly. At the other end Loughgiel’s keeper Eimear Boyle made a fine save from substitute Emma Connor who had goal in her sights. Loughgiel battled hard to salvage something from the game but Caoimhe Wright sealed the victory for Ballycastle with a point from a 45 providing McQuillan’s with a memorable win.

Scorers McQuillan’s  C Wright 0.8 ( 2play 2×45 4frees) MKelly 0.2 E Laverty RMcBride NDevlin 0.1 each

Scorers Loughgiel    E McMullan 0.5    R McCormick 0.4 (0.2 frees) L McNaughton C Dobbin ) 0.1 each

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