Fast start paves the way for Castle victory

Development Camogie Cup semi-final

Sunday 18th September

MacUilín Ballycastle 4-12

Latharna Óg 2-08

Photographs: Paul McIlwaine

After two closely fought league meetings, the Junior Development Cup Semi Final clash of Latharna Óg and MacUilín Ballycastle was always going to serve up an entertaining battle.  With the ‘Castle Cailíní’ taking both sets of league points with small margin wins earlier in the season, this game was anyone’s for the taking.

The girls in Black & Amber got out of the traps quickest in Cushendun and Clare Scullion set their marker for the game when she ran through and scored an early goal.  Caoimhe O’Hara finished neatly to the net soon after, with a clever passage of play from Cíara McShane & Louise McNeill.  It wasn’t long before the third goal went in when Gráinne Hunter’s well struck free dropped over the keeper’s head into the net.  Gráinne followed up with her second major when she was quickest to react to the breaking ball the around the square and volleyed the sliotar to the net.  It might have seemed like plain sailing for Ballycastle at that stage, but the game was far from over and to their credit, the girls from Larne kept chipping away.  They took points through top scorer Beth McCauley & Nicola Black and were rewarded with a well finished Beth McCauley goal just before half time to keep their hopes alive.

Gráinne Hunter’s free taking was accurate for Ballycastle in the opening half and with Louise McNeill contributing 3 first half points, it kept the town girls ahead at the break.

Alice Gillian for Latharna Óg was keeping a tight mark on the ever-dangerous Grainne Hunter, while Ashling Mulvenna & Rachael O’Boyle were solid at the back for Larne who fought hard in the second half.  They turned over attacks as Ballycastle were hungry for another goal.  Two points in quick succession from Cíara McShane for Ballycastle and 1 from substitute Riona McAuley kept the scoreboard ticking. Siobhan Donnelly & Gráinne Hunter added further points which kept ‘the town’ in control.

At the other end the girls in yellow and blue were finding another gear to run at the Ballycastle defence though, but good work from McQuillan’s forced Larne to shoot for points as the goal chances were closed down.  Erin O’Hara was superb in the Ballycastle net, while Laura Dallas commanded the half back line well.  Siobhan Donnelly worked tirelessly in midfield while for Larne, Dara Martin, Beth McCauley and Bronagh Shields stood out up front.  Larne continued to press and did get their second goal after a long ball in dropped short and was flicked to the net by Nicola Black.  Latharna Óg substitute Megan McKillop looked dangerous at times and managed to add a point when she came on.

In the end Ballycastle’s strong start was a stretch too far for Latharna Óg to pull back and it’s the MacUilín girls who now progress to the Championship final.

Ballycastle scorers: Grainne Hunter 2-05 (1-4 frees), Caoimhe O’Hara 1-01, Louise McNeill 0-03, Clare Scullion 1-00, Ciara McShane 0-02, Siobhan Donnelly 0-01, Riona McAuley 0-01.

Latharna Og scorers: Beth McCauley 1-05 (0-2 frees), Nicola Black 1-02, Megan McKillop 0-01.

MacUilín Ballycastle: Erin O’Hara, Louise Dornan, Michaela Beattie, Caoimhe McShane, Ciara McKeague, Laura Dallas, Rebecca Barrett, Eimear Donnelly, Siobhan Donnelly, Katy McKinley, Gráinne Hunter, Clare Scullion, Cíara McShane, Louise McNeill, Caoimhe O’Hara.

Latharna Óg: Leigh Boyle, Rachael O’Boyle, Erin Petticrew, Colleen Duffy, Natasha Dempster,

Ashling Mulvenna, Alice Gillian, Alex Fergie, Dara Martin, Niamh McKendry, Nicola Black, Holly Gillan, Brónagh Shields, Ellie McKinley, Beth McCauley.

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