TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship
Antrim 0-07 – 1-07 Derry
Kevin Herron reports from Corrigan Park
Two weeks to the day after being blitzed by Antrim in the second half of the Ulster Final at Pairc Davitt – Derry gained revenge and inflicted a 1-07 – 0-07 defeat upon the Saffrons in the TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship opener at Corrigan Park this afternoon.
In a tight and tense encounter an early second-half goal from Ciara McGurk swung the game in the favour of the Oak Leaf County and gives them great hope of claiming a place in the last four and means the Saffrons have little wriggle room for error in the remaining three games.
It was a cagey opening quarter at Corrigan with both teams struggling in front of the target. Each side hit two wides a number of shots dropped short before the opening score arrived on 11 minutes.
It was Antrim who got their noses in front after Niamh Enright slipped the ball to Cathy Carey who picked off the point.
60-seconds later a foul of Meabh McCurdy saw the hosts awarded a free and Carey converted.
Derry got off the mark before the first half water break, Erin Doherty picked out namesake Emma who curled the ball between the posts to make it 0-02-0-01 at the small break.
The Oak Leaf ladies levelled proceedings when Danielle Kivlehan picked out full-forward Orla McGeogh and McGeogh swung the ball between the large posts.
Derry’s defensive deployment was frustrating the Saffrons, and the visitors had two chances to forge ahead for the first time. But Emma Doherty skewed successive frees wide of the post.
At the third time of asking Doherty atoned for her previous two misses and edged her side ahead after a foul on Orla McGeogh.
Antrim got back on terms at the interval thanks to a fine floated point from Orla Corr which made it 0-03 apiece at the interval.
The first score of the second half arrived within the first three minutes and it was the hosts who nudged themselves ahead again thanks to Meabh McCurdy who slotted over after nice work from Caitlin Taggart.
But Derry fought back and hit the game’s only goal when Ciara McGurk contested a high ball with Anna McCann and fisted to the net to give her side a 1-03-0-04 lead.
A converted Cathy Carey free cut the deficit, though Emma Doherty did likewise at the other end.
The Oak Leafer’s were in the ascendancy and extended their lead thanks to a point from corner-forward Rachel McAllister and a third Doherty free of the contest and they were boosted by Antrim being reduced to 14-players with Aislinn McFarland being booked and sin-binned for 10-minutes for the foul in the build-up to Doherty’s conversion.
Debutant and substitute Louise Murphy moved Derry 1-07-0-05 ahead as the visitors made use of their numerical advantage.
Although that advantage would be wiped out later in the game as Danielle Kivlehan received a booking and a sin-bin for a challenge on Meabh McCurdy.
Antrim needed a goal with the clock running down but were struggling to bypass a resilient Derry defence who had locked down with success.
Cathy Carey conjured up her third free and fourth score of the afternoon and then assisted in Grainne McLaughlin swinging over a fantastic point from out on the left.
Ellen Morgan attempted to rescue the situation for her side as soloed across at the by-line before fisting the ball across- however Louise Gunn bravely gathered in the Derry goal, and they held on for a massive win on the Whiterock Road which gives them the advantage in the tussle for a top-four finish and a Championship semi-final.
Antrim: A McCann, N McIntosh, O Corr (0-01), C Stewart, A McFarland, M Blaney, A Tubridy, E Ferran, C Brown, N Enright, C Carey (0-04, 0-03f), G McLaughlin (0-01), A Taggart, M McCurdy (0-01), C Taggart. Subs:N Webb for C Stewart (23), E Morgan for A Taggart (41), D Coleman for O Corr (45).
Derry: L Gunn, J Corr, D Donnelly, N Brown, A Frizzel, G Conway, E Doherty, A McAllister, E Doherty (0-04, 0-03f), C McGurk (1-00), D McNicholl, D Kivlehan, R McAllister (0-01), O McGeogh (0-01), K Canavan. Subs:ER Salisbury for D McNicholl (HT), C Lynn for O McGoegh (41), L Murphy (0-01) for E Doherty (41).
Referee: Eddie Cuthbert (Down)