5-Star O’Neill fires St. Ergnat’s through to semi-final

LGFA Ladies Ulster Minor Quarter-Final

Moneyglass (Antrim) 10-15 Burren (Down) 0-7

Down champions, Burren had no answer to a slick St. Ergnat’s Moneyglass in this ladies Minor Championship quarter-final, played in Ahoghill today. The Antrim champions led from start to finish and had this one in the bag long before half time.

Maria O’Neill got the Moneyglass girls off to a perfect start when she rattled the Burren net after just 45 seconds and O’Neill was to prove a real thorn in the side of the Burren girls over the hour as she finished with 5-1 to her credit and proved un-markable.

Alicia Boyd raced through to open the scoring with a point from the throw in and although Eva Murdock pulled one back for the Mourne girls almost immediately they found themselves on the back foot for the remainder of the half.

Ciara O’Boyle added a point for Sarah McCann’s side before O’Neill got in for her second goal in the 7th minute and even at this early juncture it looked a long way back for the Down champions.

St. Ergnat’s were moving the ball around with great confidence while their defence afforded the opposition no space or time to settle and Leah Cassidy fired home her sides third goal following another point from Alicia Boyd to leave it 3-3 to 0-1 with only eight minutes on the clock.

Alicia Boyd, Aoife Kelly and Sarah O’Neill added points before Ciara O’Boyle finished to the net for her sides fourth goal in the 23d minute with Rachel McAteer momentarily relieving the pressure with the Down Champions second point with three minutes remaining to half time.

It was only momentarily however as Moneyglass came storming back and Nicole Cassidy pointed before getting in for her sides fifth goal to leave the Antrim champions leading 5-7 to 0-2 at the short whistle and even at this stage it looked all over.

There would be no respite for a battling but out classed Burren in the second half as St. Ergnat’s continued where they had left off at half time though it was Rachel McAteer who opened the scoring with a point in the 1st minute for the Mourne side.

The response from the Antrim champions was precise and clinical as Cliona Griffin and Leah Cassidy 0-2 replied immediately with points and Maria O’Neill and Cliona Griffin added goals by the 4th minute to put further daylight between the sides.

Hannah Murray added her first and St. Ergnat’s 8th goal with only 8 minutes of the second half gone and at this stage the visitors could have been forgiven for throwing in the towel but to their credit they kept battling against impossible odds.

They received some reward for their efforts with Caitlin Ryan, Rachel McAteer, Hannah Sloan and Aisling King adding points but there was no stopping a rampant St. Ergnat’s. Maria O’Neill added 2-1 in the run in to the final whistle with Ciara Scullion, Nicole Cassidy, Leah Cassidy and Hanna Murray all splitting the posts to put the icing on a thoroughly polished performance.

St. Ergnat’s now face Eire Og Carrickmore in next week’s semi-final at the same venue and the Tyrone champions are likely to provide the Moneyglass girls with a much stiffer challenge but on today’s performance the Antrim champions should start as firm favourites to advance to the decider.

St. Ergnat’s: Emily McCoy, Erin Duffin, Molly McCoy, Niamh Neeson, Sarah O’Neill, Saoirse McErlain, Aoife Kelly, Cliona Griffin, Ciara Scullion, Alicia Boyd, Maria O’Neill, Ciara O’Boyle, Hannah Murray, Leah Cassidy, Nicole Cassidy Subs: Kathy McCluskey for Erin Duffin, Maria McNally for Ciara O’Boyle, Leah Stewart for Leah Cassidy, Annie Griffin for Cliona Griffin

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