Ulster Ladies Football – Minor Championship
Armagh 6-7 Antrim 8-18
Antrim Ladies Minor Footballers pulled off a real shock at Armagh Athletic Grounds on Wednesday evening when they beat Armagh in the opening round of the Ulster Minor Football Championship.
Going into the game the home team were favourites to take the honours, and when Antrim were forced to make a raft of late changes the Saffron girls appeared to be even more outsiders. However the Antrim girls were undeterred and after keeping well in touch during the first half they turned it around to come from 6 points down to win with an incredible tally of 8-18 to 6-7.
Antrim had stars all over the pitch, so much so that every player interviewed afterwards picked a different Player of the Match. Captain Theresa Mallon, playing in an all-St Brigid’s half-forward line, was just sensational, driving forward at every opportunity, while her club-mate Ciara Austin chipped in with 2-1.
Vice-captain Duana Coleman from Sarsfields worked tirelessly all over the field, Ana Mulholland (from Glenavy but playing out of Lamh Dhearg) used her netball skills to great effect at midfield after being drafted in at the last minute and looks a real prospect, and there were several other contenders.
In defence Gemma McCrudden, who became the first Oisins Glenariffe woman to play at county level, was rock solid especially in the second-half when Antrim kept Armagh at bay, limiting them to three goals while scoring six at the other end.
Thre was little between the sides in the opening half Maeve Lennon, Hoggly Morgan and Ella Reid game them to a 3-6 to 2-6 lead at half time, the Antrim goals coming from Alex Trainor on 11 minutes and Dúana Coleman on 22.
After the break increased their lead with a Granine Boylan goal, but Antrim his straight back when Mary Mitchell crashed the ball to the Armagh net two minutes later. Sinead Quinn got Armagh’s fifth goal to put her side six clear, but Antrim showed no signs of wilting under the pressure and they had their best spell of the game which say Ciara Austin grab another goal, which was closely followed by three unanswered points from Alisia Davidson, Austin and Anna Mulholland to level up the scores.
The brilliant Grainne Boylan got Armagh’s sixth goal of the game to move them back in front, but the tide was definitely turning and Antrim Mary Mitchell hit the Saffron’s fifth goal to square the game once again. It was clear that the Armagh girls were tiring because of the hectic pace of the game and the visitors took full advantage three points from Therese Mellon, Ciara Austin and Layssa Davidson, plus goal number six from Anna Mulholland.
The home team came back with a point in the 51st minute but it was to be their last score of the game and Antrim produced a storming finish which saw Dúana Coleman and Mary Mitchell grab their 7th and 8th goals to put the seal on a remarkable win.
Naoise Clarke (St Paul’s)
Gemma McCrudden (Oisins Glenariffe)
Ellie Burns – Gortnamona
Erin Tieger – (St Gall’s)
Aiobhin Larkin (Lamh Dhearg)
Saoirse McErlain (Moneyglass)
Carla McCann (Sarsfields)
Juana Coleman (Sarsfields)
Anna Mulholland (Lamh Dhearg)
Mary Mitchell (St Brigid’s)
Theresa Mellon – (St Brigid’s) (Capt)
Ciara Austin (St Brigid’s)
Alyisa Davidson (Gort na Mona)
Ellie Murphy (Naomh Eanna),
Alex Trainor (Ardoyne)
Niamh Ritchie for Erin Tieger
Caoimhe Finucane for Gemma McCrudden
Ailbhe Kane for Alex Trainor
Aoibheann Cosgrove for Saoirse McErlain
Rachel Mulholland Ellie Burns