Ulster Ladies Club Championship semi-final
Bredagh 2:14 Moneyglass 1:7
On a cool, crisp day at Bellaghy pitch, Bredagh (Down) and Moneygless (Antrim) prepared to fight for a spot in the Ulster ladies senior final. Amid the players and the crowd, leaves and spiders drifted in the light breeze.
There were no cobwebs on the Down champions, however, as they claimed the first ball and stormed down the pitch. Although their first shot went wide Clare Timoney converted a penalty when Anna McCann was adjudged to have fouled an opponent to give the Down champions an early lead.
Three minutes gone and Bredagh were three up. This was the start of their control. Strong team play and pace in their attack saw them carry the match to Moneyglass and put the Antrim women on the backfoot. Within the next eleven minutes, the girls in maroon won two frees and converted both to put them 1:2 to 0:0 ahead.
Moneyglass claimed their first score in the fourteenth minute when Orlaith Prenter split the posts but Maria O’Neill was denied prior to Prenter’s score when a brilliant track back and tackle from Orla Duffy denied the St. Ergnat’s forward.
It was Bredagh who took the next score when captain Timoney, impressive with her free taking throughout the match, pointed a placed ball. Moneyglass responded but were off target before Cliona Griffin went on a piercing run to win a free and Orla Prenter applied the finish as she sent over.
Bredagh responded in devastating fashion and they claimed the next seven points after the water break: Eilish Ward with two big scores and Eva Hicks putting her name to four. Moneyglass were forced back onto the defensive at this stage but were finding it difficult to contain a rampant Bredagh attack.
The work rate of Aoibheann McCarvill and Ciara McCreanor gave the Down girls the edge but the Antrim ladies looked to be in for a goal when Bronagh Devlin, made a good interception and attempted to lob the keeper but the ball again sailed agonisingly wide of the posts.
Another inspiring run from Griffin saw O’Neill finish the half with a point but at half time it looked a long way back for the St. Ergnat’s girls when they trailed 1-10 to 0-3.
Moneyglass started the second half on the attack but an early effort sailed wide and Bredagh responded and Viv McCormick got in behind the home defence to fire to the net. The teams then exchanged points but although Moneyglass were enjoying more possession they were being forced out the field and were finding it difficult to penetrate a solid Bredagh defence.
Both sets of defenders were dominant at this stage but Moneyglass added a point and Bredagh got two before the water break. The Down champions were now playing with great confidence and Claire Timoney sent a brilliant ball into Ella Durkan, who fired over the bar.
Moneyglass responded and Niamh McIntosh intercepted and started a move that ended in Orla Prenter again splitting the posts. Prenter claimed the final score of the game when she fired home from the penalty spot but it was too little too late for the Antrim champions.
Bredagh rallied for one final time and Anna McKee looked in for a goal but Aoife Kelly made a timely interception to prevent a goal.
Despite defeat this has been a great season for the Moneyglass side and they can be rightly proud of their achievements. A first Antrim Senior title for nearly a decade and an excellent opening day win in Ulster says a lot about their progress and with a strong youth setup they can look forward to going again in 2022.
Moneyglass: Anna McCann, Aoife Kelly, Emma-Louise McAreavey, Saoirse McErlian, Sarah O’Neill, Rebecca Bradley, Niamh McIntosh, Laura McCann, Cathy Carey, Cliona Griffin, Maria O’Neill, Christine Webb, Eleanor Mallon, Bronagh Devlin, Orlaith Prenter. Subs: Aine Devlin for Christine Webb, Deirbhle McNicholl for Mallon, Alicia Boyd for Saoirse McErlain
Bredagh: Maeve Deery, Orna Kelly, Kate Keaney, Hannah Murray, Nuala Carvill, Aislinn MacFarland, Orla Duffy, Catherine Burke, Laoise Duffy, Aoibheann McCarvill, Clare Timoney (C), Aoife Laverty, Eilish Ward, Viv McCormack, Eva Hicks.