Antrim senior camogie final :
Loughgiel 3-11 Ballycastle 2-5
LOUGHGIEL Shamrocks made it seven titles on the trot when they beat Ballycastle in Sunday’s Antrim Senior Camogie final in perfect conditions at Kelly Park, Portglenone on Sunday evening, a win that stretches their title haul to 23, well ahead of Dunloy and Portglenone who 11 each.
The Shamrocks were in control from the start as player of the match Roisin McCormick struck early and often as she guided her team to a 1-4 to 0-0 lead, 1-3 of it from her own stick. Ballycastle took a while to get going and when Maeve Kelly scored a great individaul goal they were back in contention. However they Town could not maintain their pressure and Loughgiel regained control to go on record a nine point win.
McCormick opened the scoring when she raced clear to point after 25 seconds and she had opened up a 1-3 lead after eight minutes, Clare McKillop and Christine Laverty combining to set her up for the goal.
A minute later Caitrin Dobbin extended the Loughgiel lead and it looked ominous for Ballycastle.
However Maeve Kelly eventually won and converted a free in the 11th minute and Ballycastle were back in business when the same player cut in along the end line and forced the sliotar over the line. With Niamh O’Neill adding a point, Ballycastle were now just two in arrears at 1-4 to 1-2.
The Town kept pace with the Shamrocks for the second quarter and were 1-7 to 1-4 down at the break with McCormick scoring 1-6 for the holders.
In almost an identical passage of play to the Kelly goal in the first half, Róisín McCormick picked up a long free into the corner from Maeve Connolly, bounced off a couple of tackles and fired home a second Loughgiel goal in the 34th minute.
When Dobbin cut in from the other wing to score a third goal, the result was more or less in the bag. It was just a case of cutting out Ballycastle’s route to goal.
That was capably achieved by their excellent half-back line and midfield, allied to the clever work of Ciara Laverty as sweeper, and they pinned Ballycastle into their own half forcing Maeve Kelly their main scoring threat to come very deep to forage and then attempt to solo through looking for scores.
The Town defence found the threat of McCormick and Dobbin very difficult to handle, but Enya McShane, Emma Laverty and Niamh Donnelly worked well to hold the line, although the Ballycastle attack could get little space at the other end.
Nuala Devlin managed to fire home a consolation goal near the end after several shots in the same attack had been parried by Eimear Boyle on the goal-line.
The star turn was Róisín McCormick who threatened the goal every time she gained possession with Caitrin Dobbin an excellent foil. The only pity is that the provincial final against the Derry champions will not take place until early January. In this sort of form, McCormick, Dobbin and Loughgiel were more impressive than what was on offer from either Swatragh or Slaughtneil who won their Derry semi-finals on Friday evening.
Loughgiel : Eimear Boyle, Megan McGarry, Chloe Higgins, Ciara Laverty, Emma McFadden, Maeve Connolly, Shauna Devlin, Amy Boyle, Lucia McNaughton, Roisin McCormick 2-9, 0-4 frees, Anna Connolly, Emma McMullan, Caitrin Dobbin 1-1, Christine Laverty, Clare McKillop.
Subs : Katie McKillop for A Connolly (43), Racquel Murphy for L McNaughton (50), Orlagh Laverty 0-1 for S Devlin (59)
Ballycastle : Becky Ellis, Niamh Ann Donnelly, Catherine McShane, Enya McShane, Bronagh McCaughan, Kathryn Donnelly, Emma Laverty, Meabh O’Neill, Niamh Donnelly 0-2 frees, Aine Donnelly, Caoimhe Wright 0-1 free, Nuala Devlin 1-0, Maeve Kelly 1-1, 0-1 free, Emma Connor, Niamh O’Neill 0-1
Subs : Riana McBride for N O’Neill (44), Tara O’Neill for E Connor (50), Orla Donnelly for C McShane (50).
Referee : Joe Baldwin