Cavan too strong for Antrim’s young charges

Littlewoods Division 4 League

Antrim 3-4 Cavan 5-22

LAST year’s Premier Junior championship finalists Cavan dumped Antrim out of the Littlewoods Div 4 League by pulling away from the Saffrons after a promising first 20 minutes from the home side in Randalstown on Saturday.

Although Riana McBride pointed a free inside 30 seconds, things looked bleak for the new Antrim team when Róisín O’Keefe cut in twice from the left wing to hit goals before the clock had reached the third minute of play.

However Antrim showed their spirit and recovered. McBride hit a long ball into the area for Molly Woulahan to catch and bat home from close range. McBride followed up with two frees and when another free from the McQuillan’s teenager dropped short, Niamh O’Neill stabbed home and only a point, 2-4 to 2-3, separated the teams at the water break.

However Cavan were moving best as a team and a flurry of scores followed with all six forwards getting on the score-board before half time.

Those scores included a goal from Orla Smith in the 23rd minute. Although Antrim responded when yet another high free from McBride was knocked back for Orlagh Laverty to fire home four minutes later, Cavan had stretched the gap to 3-12 to 3-3 by the interval.

The second half saw Cavan turn the screw helped by a goal from Shanise Fitzsimons in the 34th minute. They kept the pressure on the Antrim defence and Fionnghuala Rocks, Frances Ramsay and the defence did well to curb the scoring threat.

However the points kept piling up and Cavan added a goal from Orla Smith in the 49th minute before going on to record a 5-22 to 3-4 win.

Tyrone, who edged out Antrim by a single point last week, beat Wicklow by 4-15 to 2-10 and that result makes Antrim’s game against Wicklow of academic interest in determining semi-finalists from the group.

Still Gavin Curran and his management team will look to record a victory and lift heads once more ahead of the All-Ireland Junior championship which begins in July.

Antrim : Frances Ramsay, Emer ONeill, Fionnghuala Rocks capt., Eimear Matthews, Enya McShane, Mary McKillen, Caitlin Heggarty, Orlagh Laverty 1-0, Eimear Byrne, Martine McCann, Maria Bakewell, Rianna McBride 0-4 frees, Niamh O’Neill 1-0, Molly Woulahan 1-0, Debbie Boyd.

Subs used: Siantelle Boyd, Fionnuala Kelly, Tara O’Neill, Rebecca Stewart, Lauren Coleman, Orlagh O’Neill.

Cavan scorers: Roisin O’Keefe 2-7, Orla Smith 2-1, Shanise Fitzsimons 1-2, Clodagh Keenaghan 0-7, 4 frees, Sinead McKenna 0-2, Niamh Keenaghan 0-1, Hannah Fitzsimons 0-1, Ciara Finnegan 0-1

Referee : Bernard Heaney (Meath)

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