Antrim LGFA Senior Football Championship Final
St Ergnat’s Moneyglass 7-11-1-06 St Pauls
Kevin Herron reports from Davitt Park
They say all good things come to an end and that was certainly true on Saturday evening as St Ergnat’s Moneyglass ended St Paul’s firm grip on the Antrim Senior Ladies Championship with a stunning 7-11-1-06 victory at Davitt Park.
Many have tried and failed- including St Ergnat’s-over the years, to dethrone Brian Coyle’s all conquering, dominant and ruthless Champions who were going into the game looking for an 10th successive triumph.
The Shaws Road outfit went into the final boosted by the return of McGuinness sisters Caitlin and Kirsty and began as favourites to maintain the status quo. However the champions were blown away by mighty Moneyglass who upset the odds to take the title in style
It was Moneyglass who nipped in front early-doors as Cathy Carey slipped the ball between the large posts, though Niamh Enright replied from a free at the other end.
St Ergnat’s hit the net after nine minutes, Eleanor Mallon was originally named on the bench but justified her late call up by playing a part in the goal.
She threaded the ball through to Maria O’Neill who showed composure to fist the ball across to Orlaith Prenter and the corner-forward picked the right moment and fired to the net.
O’Neill then went from provider to scorer- floating over her sides next point with Bronagh Devlin landing a third score on the bounce to give their side a 1-03-0-01 lead within the blink of an eye.
Everything that could go right, did go right for Moneyglass and on 11 minutes they further stretched their lead.
Cliona Griffin claimed possession and played one-two with Aine Devlin and showed determination to see off some heavy pressure and shirt pull to blast past Aisling Healy to the St Pauls net for the second time in a matter of minutes.
St Pauls needed to steady the ship and replied immediately, Ciara Brown charged forward and offloaded to Aine Tubridy who sent a ball into the forward line, Fionnuala Rocks got out to claim and slipped it to Kirsty McGuiness for a tap-in past Anna McCann to give the Shaws Road ladies a much-needed boost.
It didn’t last for long though as St Ergnat’s quickly restored their five-point advantage with their third goal inside of five minutes.
Maria O’Neill set the wheels in motion for a second time, again picking out the intelligent run of Orlaith Prenter who fired low to the net to move her side 3-03-1-01 ahead.
O’Neill notched up her second point of the afternoon in the aftermath and then added her sides fourth goal after a superb lay-off from Cathy Carey; O’Neill shaped up for a point that dipped and fired to the net by Healy- who may have been deceived by the sun in her eyes.
In the aftermath of the water-break they further extended their lead through a converted Cathy Carey free and with little under 20 minutes on the clock they netted for the fifth time.
O’Neill played a one-two with Bronagh Devlin and picked out Devlin’s twin sister Aine for a powerful finish into the top corner which gave her side a 5-05-1-01 lead.
Kristy McGuiness curled over a fantastic point in response- her sides score in well over ten minutes- But on 24 minutes goal number six arrived and Maria O’Neill claimed her second of the half- taking a nice pass from Bronagh Devlin and bursting towards the target before pulling the trigger.
Niamh Enright kicked her second converted free of the half in reply, however Moneyglass ended with the final two scores of the half courtesy of points from Aine Devlin and Orlaith Prenter to ensure their side were comfortably in the ascendancy at the interval- leading 6-07-1-03.
Orlaith Prenter picked up where she left off before the break as she landed the opening score of the second half, at the other end Ciara Brown kicked a magnificent reply- but it was goals that her sides desperately required.
St Pauls did follow-up Brown’s score with another point from substitute Lara Dahunsi. The upturn in fortunes wasn’t to last though as Moneyglass had the chance to net goal number seven.
They sliced St Paul’s open at the back, but Orlaith Prenter was denied by the crossbar and just when it seemed that Maria O’Neill would turn home the rebound, she was felled by Caitlin McGuiness and referee Fionnuala Murphy signalled for a penalty and red-carded McGuiness for the tackle.
Prenter stepped up and despite Aisling Healy guessing correctly- Prenter powered her effort low to the corner of the net to secure her third of the afternoon and stretch her sides lead (7-08-1-05).
Full-forward Bronagh Devlin angled her sides next score and Orlaith Prenter then followed up with another – scoring her third point.
Ergnat’s kicked their last point through a converted free from Cathy Carey and their numerical advantage increased late-on after Aine Tubridy and Kirsty McGuiness were given their marching orders.
Mairead Cooper kicked a free in the dying embers, but it was little more than scant consolation as the writing was on the wall from the first half and after eight additional minutes Moneyglass players, management and supporters poured onto the field to celebrate clinching the Senior Football Championship and become the first side from St Galls in 2011 to inflict a Championship defeat upon the Shaws Road outfit.
St Paul’s: A Healy, E Enight, E Kelly, C Stewart, C McGuiness, C Brown (0-01), S Tennyson, S McCann, A Tubridy, N Enright (0-02f), R Hemsworth, M Hanna, M Cooper (0-01f), K McGuinness (1-01), F Rocks. Subs:N Burns for E Kelly (16), L Dahunsi (0-01) for R Hemsworth (28), N Nic Riocaird for C Stewart (46), K McConville for E Enright (49).
St Ergnat’s Moneyglass: A McCann, A Kelly, EL McAreavey, C Webb, S O’Neill, R Bradley, N McIntosh, L McCann, C Carey (0-03f), C Griffin (1-00), M O’Neill (2-02), A Devlin (1-01), E Mallon, B Devlin (0-02), O Prenter (3-03, 1-00p). Subs: D McNicholl for B Devlin (53), A Boyd for A Devlin (55), S McErlain for A Kelly (59), M McGlinchy for L McCann (60).
Referee: Fionnuala Murphy (St Galls)