Antrim beat Fermanagh in Ulster semi-final


Fermanagh 1-10 Antrim 2-13


Antrim booked their place in the final of the Ulster Junior Football Championship when they beat Fermanagh in Saturday’s semi-final in Silverbrige, Co Armagh. Antrim had lost the Erne girls when they met in the league earlier this season, but this time around they came out on top with a top class display.

Antrim made a confident star, attacking with purpose from the start, and Grainne McLaughlin pointed them ahead after ninety seconds’ play. Fermanagh came back with two Eimear Smyth pointed frees to go ahead by the 4th minute but McLaughlin found the target again for the Saffrons to draw them level.

Orlaith Prenter edged Antrim in front again when she picked up a misplaced pass out of defence to point in the 7th minute.

After a Cathy Carey free conversion was speedily cancelled by a well-crafted Bogue point, Fermanagh struck for a 13th   minute goal from Sarah Britton, who punished a wayward kick out by firing home after Laura Grew set her up with a precise pass. 

Antrim drew level when a Cathy Carey free, which initially seemed to be harmlessly dropping short, somehow finding its way through the packed goal line for a goal, and though a Smyth point from a free put Fermanagh back in front, good work by Maria O’Neill on the right saw her put McLaughlin through to blast to roof of net from close range to give her team a 2-4 to 1-6 lead.

Blaithin Bogue and Graine McLaughlin, swapped points before half time to see the Saffrons go in at the break with a one point lead, despite having faced a strong breeze in the opening half.

With the breeze at their backs in the second half Antrim increased that lead and after McLaughlin pointed from a free, Maria O’Neill tagged on two more from play to put the gap out to four.

Smyth finally got Fermanagh off the mark in the second half with a pointed free but it was Antrim who scored next, five minutes later, the excellent Orlaith Prenter lofting over a fine score from distance.

Points from Smith and Bogue kept Fermanagh very much in touch but Prenter struck again with a piece of fine skill to grab another point and things got worse for their opponents when Cadhla Bogue picked up a yellow card. The girls in saffron were now in the driving seat and

Prenter then sealed the win with a another excellent point to bring her personal tally to 0-4.

Despite the defeat Fermanagh are not out of the competition however and have the chance to book a final spot when they take on Derry in next week’s play-off.

FERMANAGH – Roisin Gleeson; Eimer Keenan, Molly McGloin, Andrea Gordon; Niamh McManus, Shannan McQuade, Dee Curran; Cadhla Bogue, Sarah McCarville; Aisling O’Brien. Blaithin Bogue (0-3), Sarah Britton (1-0); A Laura Grew, Eimear Smyth (0-7, 6f), Brenda Bannon.

Subs; Nuala Curran for A. Gordon 19m; Elaine Maguire for L. Grew 52m.

ANTRIM –  Anna McCann; Maria McKenna, Aislinn McFarland, Niamh McIntosh; Maeve Mulholland, Saoirse Tennyson, Sarah O’Neill; Duana Coleman, Aine Tubridy; Caitlin Taggart, Cathy Carey (1-2,1f), Maria O’Neill (0-2); Bronagh Devlin, Orlaith Prenter, (0-4), Grainne McLaughlin (1-5, 2f).

Subs; Theresa Mellon for M. McCann 19m; Molly Woulahan for B. Devlin 48m; Clare Emerson for C. Taggart 52m; Emma Louise McAreavey for S. O’Neill 54m; Orla Corr for S. Tennyson 58m.

Antrim captain Cathy Carey with her Fermanagh counterpart and the match referee before the game

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