Antrim book place in Junior final with win over Cavan

Ulster Intermediate Camogie semi-final

Cavan 2-9 Antrim II 1-13

WHAT a pity that this game was played at the same time as the Antrim seniors were winning the Ulster title in Edendork. This was a cracking contest between two evenly-matched teams and ended with a grandstand finish.

When the teams met in the league Cavan just edged home by a couple of points and went on to win the Division Three title. Saturday’s result will have taken them right back to earth.

Antrim had obviously done a lot of work since the league game a couple of months ago. They put in a solid performance from start to finish and brought on some of the Ulster winning minors during the last quarter for fresh legs.

They also were disciplined at the back meaning that Clodagh Keenaghan didn’t get to score too many frees to eat into the team’s confidence. Goal-grabber Shanise Fitzsimons was held scoreless by Eilish Kearns although she did break clear at the death and Áine Graham came off her line to smother the shot and effectively win the game.

Emma and Katie Laverty got through a pile of work at half-back and the two main scorers kept Antrim in touch for them to snatch a surprise win and a place in next weekend’s final with Armagh.

Antrim went into a 0-6 to 0-2 lead at the end of the first quarter with four points from Dervla Cosgrove frees and two from play for Caoimhe McNaughton.

However Tina Reilly struck for a Cavan goal in the 18th minute and Niamh Keenaghan grabbed another eight minutes later to put the home side a goal to the good.

Antrim though got back off the deck with points from Cosgrove and McNaughton only for Clodagh Keenaghan with two injury time frees to make it 2-5 to 0-8 at the turnover.

The teams split six points evenly during the third quarter before Antrim got a break when a long ball from McNaughton deceived Laura Bambrick and ended in the net in the 48th minute.

Keenaghan responded with a free four minutes later to give Cavan the lead once more. But Orlagh Laverty popped over a point and Dervla Cosgrove kept her head to land a free that edged Antrim ahead.

However there were more than five scoreless minutes and that late save from Aine Graham before the Saffrons could celebrate reaching another Ulster final – the county’s fifth from five attempts.

Antrim: Á Graham, M McGarry, E Kearns, E McShane, E Laverty, K Laverty, M McLarnon, C Kearney, A McNeill, C McNaughton 1-4, D Cosgrove 0-8 (7fs), F Kelly, N Devlin, S Cosgrove, O Laverty 0-1.

Subs: Bronach Magill for M McLarnon, C McArthur for N Devlin, Brid Magill for A McNeill, T O’Neill for C Kearney, B Abram for D Cosgrove.

Cavan: L Babrick, Á Finnegan, E Galligan, S Cusack, A Collins, R Crowe-McKeever, J Maguire, E Fitzpatrick, N Keengahan 1-0, C Fay 0-1, E Brady 0-1, C Keenaghan 0-7 (f), T Reilly 1-0, S Fitzsimons, A Keenaghan

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