Kelly is loving the Saffrons’ season so far

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship

By Seamus McAleenan

MAEVE KELLY is the youngest member of the Antrim team that brushed aside Laois in Saturday’s Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate semi-final with a 0-14 to 0-3 victory. But she has been their stand out player over their three games on the way to a final meeting with Down. On Saturday she was involved in most of what was good about the Antrim performance, posting three points from the right wing during the opening half and taking a brilliant save out of Aedin Lowry midway through the second half. “There were tough conditions out there, the game was really tough and physical. But we went out really, really determined and we got scores on the board in the first half,” the Ballycastle teenager told Seamus McAleenan immediately after the game.

Maeve Kelly in action during Antrim’s win over Laois

“We still had momentum during the second half but didn’t really add enough scores. Nicole (O’Neill) kept us going with frees there. “We had goal opportunities. Their goalkeeper was good and she was the main reason we didn’t get a goal. But when goals are on, we need to be taking them and that is something we can work on. “But we didn’t concede a goal either. Eimear (Boyle) made a great save near the end. She had another great save in the Meath game too. Our defence is doing very well.”

The student teacher at St Mary’s University feels that the panel has come together really well over the last few games. “I think that has come from there being a separate club season to the county one. Everything was finished with the club in September and it gave us time to get club rivalry out of the way and concentrate on the county. “There has also been a bigger buy-in to the county as a result and it is great to be playing alongside the best players in Antrim. I was only used to playing against some of them. “I am loving it at the minute. The girls are a great bunch and we have been training really hard as well. You can see team-work improving too.”

Although one of the youngest players on the team, Maeve already is one of the most experienced with back-to-back All-Ireland minor titles in 2017-18 and she has played in two All-Ireland senior Schools’ finals with Cross and Passion College. She also captained the Ulster schools’ team to inter-provincial success two years ago, a team that included some of the Down players Antrim will play in the All-Ireland final on December 5th. “Sorcha McCartan, Beth Fitzpatrick, Isabella O’Hare and Saoirse Sands were all on that Ulster team and I have come across some of them again since I started in St Mary’s. They are really good players and they will make it very tough for us.”

Antrim’s Maeve Kelly in action during the All Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship quareter final win over Meath at Inniskeen. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine

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