Antrim Senior Camogie Championship – Round robin 3
Loughgiel 0-14 Dunloy 0-15
Paul McLean reports from Fr Healy Park, Loughgiel
The two form teams in Antrim met on Saturday in the latest of the round robin series in the Antrim senior camogie championship with Dunloy coming out on top in what was a very close and tough encounter.
With both sides having beaten each other in the league this year you knew there would be little between the sides. Both sides were neck and neck throughout the most of the game but it was a Nicole O’Neill score near the end that give the Dunloy girls a one point win.
It was Nicole who would open the scoring for the visitors with a point from a free and with fellow County star Aine Magill scoring afterwards it gave Dunloy a two point start.
However Loughgiel replied in kind with a score from one of their up and coming stars, Annie Lynn, who raced clear to fire over her first score of the day, and Roisin McCormick levelled things up for the home side with a fine score to make it two apiece.
Another Nicole O’Neill point from play restored Dunloy’s lead following some good ground work by Aileen McManus. At this stage of the game Dunloy were on top and had 2 really good goal chances. Aine Magill worked herself into a shooting chance after she was played in by Caitlin Crawford and with the goal at her mercy she fired wide.
Loughgiel responded as County Champions do to fire over two rapid points through Caitrin Dobbin and Roisin McCormick. But, yet again Dunloy should have rattled the net following a really good piece of passing the forwards. Nicole O’Neill again had the opportunity to score after a series of neat passing between herself and Cassie McArthur but Katie Lynn and Charlene Campbell shut her down and cleared the danger.
The ball was cleared to Lucia McNaughton who in turn found Caitrin Dobbin and she opened up a two point lead at the first water break.
Dunloy came out after the break more settled after that series of scores from the champions as they responded with two points themselves. The first from Caoimhe Molloy and then another from Aine Magill.
The game ebbed and flowed both ways as both sides exchanged scores back and forth. Firstly Anna Connelly for the home side and then Caitlin Crawford for Dunloy with Roisin McCormick for Loughgiel.
The heavy pitch was meaning that there was a lot to rucks and contested balls with each one of them fought for by both sides.
Nicole O’Neill fired over a brace of scores for Dunloy before a Roisin McCormick point was followed by a well taken point from centre half back Amy Boyle, which brought the side’s level yet again right up to the half time whistle. Loughgiel 0-08 Dunloy 0-08.
The second half began the same as the first as both sides tried to stamp their authority on the game. Annie Lynn opened the scoring for the home side after she raced clear down the wing to strike over a nice point.
Dunloy then had their purple patch where they took the momentum their way. Four scores in a row pushed them ahead with Cassie McArthur getting the first of them. Two placed balls from Nicole O’Neill gave the Dunloy girls a two point lead midway through the third quarter and this was further boosted with a good score from captain Aileen McManus.
Roisin McCormick picked up a brace of scores as Loughgiel rallied again to reduce the deficit to one point. Wides were coming from both sides as each team were really starting to go for each other. Aine Magill it was who found her range as she pushed Dunloy’s lead out to two points going into the last water break.
Emma McMullan reduced this lead again for the champions but again the visitors responded in kind as Nicole O’Neill struck over a free. The last 8 minutes of the game were as frantic as you will see as both sets of defences stood tall to keep each other out.
Lucia McNaughton drove on to reduce the lead with Caitrin Dobbin bringing the champions level again. However, Dunloy were able to find another gear to work the chance in the forward line to earn a vital free which Nicole O’Neill struck over.
Another well contested game between the sides with yet again nothing between them. A good advertisement for the talent that’s on show in Antrim Camogie at the moment.
A win in their final game against Tir na nÓg would mean Dunloy top the group and are likely to face Cushendall in the semi-final with a Loughgiel v Ballycastle semi-final the likely outcome for the other semi-final
M Martin, E McMullan, E Kearns, B Magill, K Laverty, C Conlon, D Elliott, A McManus (0-01), K Molloy, NO’Neill (0-08), C Molloy (0-01), E Elliott, C McArthur (0-01), C Crawford (0-01), A Magill (0-04)
M Coyles, C Campbell, K Lynn, M Lynn, M Connelly, A Boyle (0-01), S Devlin, E McFadden, L McNaughton (0-01), C McKillop. A Connelly (0-01), R McCormick (0-05), C Dobbin (0-03), A Lynn (0-02)