McCormick leads the charge as Antrim book semi-final spot

All-Ireland Intermediate championship quarter-final

Antrim 4-19 Kerry 1-7

Report by Seamus McAleenan

Photos by Paddy ‘Jock’ Donnelly

THE Antrim management could not have asked for more from their team than was given in Saturday’s All-Ireland Intermediate semi-final in Banagher.

Despite the long journey down to Offaly they were quickly out of the blocks and inside the first eight minutes hit the opening six points through Róisín McCormick (4), Amy Boyle and Maeve Kelly.

Kerry scored two frees in return but Antrim appeared to be on a mission and pushed on to lead by 0-9 to 0-2 at the first water break with teenager Áine Magill firing over two points.

Aine Magill fired over two points during Antrim’s early barrage

Caitrin Dobbin and Nicole O’Neill joined the Saffron list of scorers during the second quarter, but Kerry tightened up a lot and seemed to be back in the game when they found the net in the 28th minute through Kate Lynch and quickly added a point from Patrice Diggin.

However Róisín McCormick killed the moment for them by taking a pass from Maeve Kelly to crash home an Antrim goal in first half injury time and the Ulster side turned around with a 1-12 to 1-4 lead.

The first score of the second half in the 36th minute was also a McCormick goal, the Loughgiel player firing a penalty to the net and at that point the result was in the bag.

The teams exchanged two points each before the second water break when Anna Connolly and Ciara Laverty entered the fray to quickly put down a marker for starting jerseys in this weekend’s semi-finals.

Antrim corner back Chloe Drain comes out of defence with the ball

Connolly pointed twice during her 15 minutes on the pitch and Laverty added 1-1, her goal in the 51st minute coming just 60 seconds after Caitrin Dobbin had shot Antrim’s third goal.

It was a pretty emphatic scoring performance from the Saffrons with very few wides over the hour. However the gradient on the hill to Croke Park glory now gets a little steeper as the teams are whittled down to four.

Antrim : C Graham, C Drain, N Donnelly, M Lynn, C Patterson, C Conlon, M Connolly, L McNaughton capt., N O’Neill 0-1, Christine Laverty, A Boyle 0-1, Á Magill 0-2, R McCormick 2-6, 3 frees, 2 45s, M Kelly 0-3, C Dobbin 1-3.

Subs : S Devlin for M Lynn (HT), Ciara Laverty 1-1 for R McCormick (45), A Connolly 0-2 for A Boyle (45).

Kerry: A Fitzgerald, E Ryall, N Leen, M Costello, P Diggin 0-2 frees, S Murphy, Á O’Connor capt., A Behan, K Lynch 1-0, AM Leen, L Collins 0-1, R McCarthy, A O’Sullivan, J Horgan 0-3, 2 frees, C Spillane 

Subs: J Fitzell 0-1 for A O’Sullivan

Referee : C Quinlan

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