Baptism of fire for All Saints but plenty of positives

LGFA Division1

All Saints 2-4 St. Paul’s 2-18

All Saints faced a baptism of fire when they took on high flyers, St. Paul’s in their division 1 debut at Slemish Park on Monday night. The Ballymena girls suffered a heavy defeat but there was much in their performance to suggest that they can be competitive in the division.

They faced a St. Paul’s team containing Ciara Brown, Aine Tubridy and Laura Dahunsi who were all part of the Antrim side who defeated Leitrim in the National League Division 4 final on Sunday. Add to that Antrim manager, Emma Kelly who lined out at full forward for the Shaw’s Road side and it made for formidable opposition.

It was the home side who made the better start however, showing scant regard for the reputation of their opponents as Marnie Kelly and Catriona Quigley shot them into a 0-2 to 0-0 lead after four minutes play.

It seemed too good to last and the visitors showed just why they are still one of the teams to beat in Antrim football as they hit five on the bounce before Emma Kelly fired to the net in the 11th minute to put them in control.

Undaunted, the home side continued to play some nice football and were rewarded when Wiktoria Babuszewska replied with a goal at the other end but with Aoife Mervyn, Ciara Brown, Laurs Dahunsi and Aine Tubirty prominent the visitors had matters more or less sewn up at half time when they led by 1-13 to 1-2.

The home side started the second half as they had started the first, on the front foot and Marnie Kelly pointed after 30 seconds before Anna O’Kane added a second with four minutes gone.

They were unable to maintain their opening burst however as St. Paul’s replied through Aine Tubridy and Emma Kelly by the 10th minute but the visitors then had a player Sin-Binned but it failed to disrupt their dominance

Aoife Mervyn fired home their second goal but the home side continued to play some excellent football and had a goal bound shot come off an upright before Sarah McLaughlin got in for an excellent goal with 21 minutes gone.

It was to prove All Saints final score however as St. Paul’s finished strongly to hit the final three points of the game through Niamh Richie and two from the impressive Ciara Brown.

St. Paul’s showed why they will once again be Moneyglass’s main rivals for honours this year and they were always in control of matters in this game and in Ciara Brown, Laura Dahunsi, Aoife Mervyn and Aine Turbidy they had players of great quality.

The Ballymena management team can be well pleased by many aspects of their side’s performance on the night however. All Saints moved the ball well and always attempted to play expansive football and in Ciara Devine, Niamh McMahon, Sinead McLaughlin, Anna Kearney, Catriona Quigley, Anna O’Kane, Wiktoria Babuszewska and Sianeese Maybin they had fine performers on the night

All Saints: 1 Ciara Devine, 2 Aobhin Cosgrove, 3 Niamh McMahon, 4 Aine Kearney, 25 Emma Laverty, 6 Sinead McLaughlin, 7 Katie Connolly, 8 Anna Kearney, 9 Catriona Quigley, 10 Cliodhna Metrustry, 11 Anna O’Kane, 12 Wiktoria Babuszewska, 13 Molly Brady, 14 Sianeese Maybin, 15 Marnie Kelly. Subs: 24 Lucy McGuigan, 27 Kelly Wilson, 29 Cara Hackett, 19 Brianna-Lee Cushenan, 16 Sarah McLaughlin, 17 Tessa Brady, 18 Megan O’Neill, 30 Rachel Doherty

St. Paul’s: 1 Shauna Murphy, 2 Cara McCleave, 3 Cliodhna Phillips, 4 Caoimhe Stewart, 5 Gemma McGrourty, 6 Ciara Brown, 7 Maria Hanna, 17 Cora Lee McKeown, 9 Aine Tubridy, 10 Niamh Ritchie, 11 Laura Dahunsi, 12 Aoife Mervyn, 13 Orla Brown, 14 Emma Kelly, 15 Kade McDonnell

Referee: Martin Mulholland (Glenravel)

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