Late goal snatches victory for St John’s

Antrim Junior Camogie final

St John’s 4-8 Loughgiel 4-7

A GOAL from Hannah McGuigan in the fourth minute of injury time snatched victory from Loughgiel in the Antrim Junior final, the opening game in Quinn Park Ballymena on Sunday. It was a finish to grace any occasion, the sliotar planted in the top corner – but it barely seemed possible a few minutes earlier.

This was a really competitive game from the off, lit up by several fine individual displays and of course that dramatic late winning goal. Anna McKillen, Carlina Scullion, Anna McKillop, Therese McKinley and goal-grabber Johanna McKeown at one stage looked like leading the Shamrocks to the title. However the experience of Méadbh Laverty, Aisling Hawkins and Eimhear Costello counted at key stages and kept the Corrigan Park women in with a chance of victory.

Laverty opened the scoring in the third minute, but Loughgiel hit back with two points from Anna McKillop. Then Johanna McKeown grabbed the first of her goals, taking a pass from McKillop to shoot low in the 10th minute.

The Shamrocks led by 1-3 to 0-3 at the water break and increased that lead by three points (two from McKeown and one from McKillop) over the next five minutes.

St John’s had a fair share of the play but were racking up the wides until the 24th minute when Méadbh Laverty raced through for a goal. Two minutes later she added a point from a free and then finished a well-worked move with a second goal a couple of minutes further on. It was enough to put St John’s ahead by 2-4 to 1-6 at the interval.

Eimear McKinley edged Loughgiel ahead on the re-start with a goal, but points from Aisling Hawkins (free) and Hannah McGuigan levelled the game in the 44th minute when there was a key turning point.

Loughgiel won a free, but there seemed to be afters and Anna McKillop got a straight red card, apparently for making contact with her opponent’s helmet. It seemed a harsh call. A throw-in resulted from which Loughgiel won a free and Johanna McKeown sent it all the way to the net. Eimear McKinley then added a fine point just before the water break.

Three minutes after the re-start Johanna McKeown sent another long free into the area and again the sliotar ended up in the net. Leading now by seven points, Loughgiel looked to be making light of the player red-carded and on their way to victory.

At the other end the wides kept piling up for St John’s although Méadbh Laverty gave them some hope when she hand-passed a goal in the 54th minute. It was initially disallowed but the referee consulted with his umpires and ruled that the goal stood as the sliotar had come off the goalie’s stick on the way over the line.

Aisling Hawkins added a point and the pressure was now all on the Loughgiel defence. Hannah McGuigan had a good opening but turned too many times and a free-out was awarded. Then as the game slipped into injury time, Nicole Kane had a another goal chance but skied her shot for a point.

That left Loughgiel holding on by two points and it was to prove a dangerous lead as McGuigan pounced for the late winner.

Naomh Eoin: S Lagan, A Quinn, D Clarke, C Morgan, SJ McGuigan, Ú Simpson, C Carlton, C Morgan, S Boyd, A Hawkins 0-3, 2 frees, O Morgan, M Laverty 3-3, 0-1 free, H McGuigan 1-1, E Costello, N Kane 0-1.

Subs: D Boyd for O Morgan (37), E boyd for A Quinn (37), C Hamill for C Morgan (48).

Loughgiel : Catie Connolly, E Sullivan, R Cummings, E Glackin, C McKeown, M Watson, A McKillen, S McAleese, Colleen Connolly, J McKeown 3-3, 2-2 frees, T McKinley, C Sullivan, E McKinley 1-1, Cara Connolly, A McKillop 0-3, 1 free.

Subs: Z Cassley for Cara Connolly (35), A McKendry for E Glackin (37)

Referee: Anthony McAuley (Ballycastle)

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