Antrim Camogs make perfect start in Senior Championship campaign

Glen Dimplex Senior championship

Offaly 1-10 Antrim 4-18

ANTRIM announced their arrival in the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior camogie championship by going to Birr on Saturday and thrashing the home side by 4-18 to 1-10.

However Antrim, promoted as winners of last season’s Intermediate title, looked in bother after 20 minutes when Offaly took a 1-5 to 0-4 lead, Máiréad Teehan scoring the home side’s goal after six minutes.

But the Saffrons outscored them by 1-5 to 0-2 in the ten minutes before the break with the goal coming in injury time goal from Áine Magill.

Róisín McCormick scored four times before the break with Caoimhe Wright picking up two points and one each for Caitrín Dobbin, Lucia McNaughton and Áine Magill.

There was a mini scoring blitz at the start to the second half with each team hitting three points inside five minutes (two McCormick frees and another point from Magill).

However Róisín McCormick put daylight between the teams with a 39th minute goal and Loughgiel club-mate Caitrin Dobbin added a goal and two points inside two minutes before the final quarter began. That left a gap of 3-15 to 1-10 that Offaly were not going to close.

Áine Magill bagged her second goal in the 51st minute while McCormick went on to claim a goal and eight points in a comprehensive win for the Ulster side.

Máiréad Teehan and Sarah Harding were a threat for Offaly, but once the Saffrons got in control of the score-board that threat disappeared. Best for Antrim were Laoise McKenna in defence, Nicole O’Neill in midfield and forwards Roisin McCormick, Caitrin Dobbin and Áine Magill tore the home defence apart.

Antrim travel to Down for their next game on Saturday 28th May.

Antrim: Caitriona Graham, Chloe Drain, Niamh Donnelly, Amy Boyle, Colleen Patterson, Caoimhe Conlon, Laoise McKenna, Lucia McNaughton capt 0-1, Nicole O’Neill 0-1 free, Siobhan McKillop, Roisin McCormack 1-8 (0-6 frees), Áine Magill 2-2, Caoimhe Wright 0-3, Maedhbh Laverty, Caitrin Dobbin 1-3.

Subs: Maria Lynn for S McKillop (53), Katie McKillop for C Dobbin (56).

Offaly : Eleanor Clendennen, Sarah Guinan, Aisling Feeney, Orla Gorman, Sarah Walsh, Roisin Egan capt., Orlagh Phelan, Aisling Brennan 0-1, Louise Mannion, Sarah Harding 0-2, Grace Teehan 0-1, Christine Cleary, Clodagh Leahy, Mairead Teehan 1-6 (0-4 frees), Siobhan Flannery.

Subs: Siobhan Killeen for S Guinan (47), Edwina King for G Teehan (54)

Antrim camogs step up to Senior

Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Camogie Championships

There are four tiers in the All-Ireland championships, Senior, Intermediate, Premier Junior and the Nancy Murray Cup. Teams playing in higher grades may enter a second team in Intermediate or Junior. There is promotion and relegation from each grade at the end of the championship.

The All-Ireland senior championship has taken place every year since 1932 and just seven counties have won the title – Cork (28 titles, last in 2018), Dublin (26, 1984), Kilkenny (14, 2020), Wexford (7, 2012), Antrim (6, 1979), Tipperary (5, 2004) and current champions Galway with four titles.

Almost 50 years ago winning the provincial championship to gain a place in the All-Ireland was abandoned in favour of an Open Draw and that has since been replaced around two decades ago by group qualification for the knock-out stages.

The camogie championships culminates in a triple-header All Ireland final at Croke Park on Sunday, August 7. The Premier Junior final leads into the Intermediate final and the afternoon ends with the senior championship final.

The Nancy Murray Cup final is on Saturday, August 6 with the winner going through to next year’s Premier Junior championship.

THERE are 12 counties in the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior championship, divided into two groups. The All-Ireland finalists (Galway & Cork) and semi-finalists (Kilkenny & Tipperary) from last year were seeded to have one of each in a group. The Groups are:

Group One: Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, Dublin and Clare.

Group Two: Galway, Kilkenny, Down, Antrim, Limerick and Offaly.

The top team in each group will go into this year’s semi-final, while second and third placed in each will contest quarter-finals. Bottom placed team in each group will face each other in a relegation play-off.

ANTRIM

Antrim have plenty going for them not least the fact that they been senior champions on six occasions, although the last of those was more than 40 years ago.

They won last year’s All-Ireland Intermediate championship with a flamboyant performance in Croke Park and most recently beat Down to reclaim the Ulster senior title. The start to that game was also excellent with two goals inside ten minutes and plenty of ball sprayed out to the wings. Defence was also super-tight in that Ulster final, and Down didn’t create a single goal chance.

However that was not the case in Croke Park a month earlier when they played Wexford in the Littlewoods National League Division Two final; opened up at the back in the opening 20 minutes and battling after that to avoid a heavy defeat.

Although they easily beat Kilkenny’s second string in Croke Park last September, they conceded 2-13 in that game.

The Saffrons played the recent Ulster final without regular midfielder Nicole O’Neill and defender Maria Lynn, while Maeve Kelly looks to be out for the season with a broken bone in her foot.

Kelly’s long term absence has meant opportunities up front for three new panel members, Caoimhe Wright, Siobhán McKillop and Maedhbh Laverty. All three have shown flashes of potential without achieving the consistency needed to deliver against the top teams.

The temporary absences of Lynn and O’Neill saw a reshuffle at the back. As a result play-anywhere Amy Boyle could find herself settled into a one-on-one marking job in defence for the rest of the season.

Last year Antrim found minor Áine Magill between league and championship and she added the little extra. With the minors successful for the last two years and the county’s second team also going well, there could be more treasure unearthed.

The Saffrons start their campaign with two away games and finish up with three games at home.

The opener against Offaly is a game they could well win, although they would probably be more confident had the game been at a north Antrim venue.

The result in that game should indicate what lies ahead.

A win, and expectation would rise that they can reach the quarter-final. Even a draw would be a good platform for progress. Defeat on the other hand could well leave them, like Down last season, struggling to find their rhythm.

If they get anything from Tullamore, then you would expect them to beat Down in the second game and all would depend on the final group game against Limerick.

Antrim panel: Cáitríona Graham, Amy Boyle, Chloe Drain, Katie McKillop, Colleen Patterson, Caoimhe Conlon, Laoise McKenna, Lucia McNaughton capt., Niamh Cosgrove, Áine Magill, Róisín McCormick, Christine Laverty, Caitrin Dobbin, Maedhbh Laverty, Caoimhe Wright, Siobhán McKillop, Niamh Anne Donnelly, Nicole O’Neill, Maria Lynn, Clare McKillop, Catherine McShane, Eimear Boyle, Ciara Laverty, Maeve Kelly.

Gorts withstand late Bridini Oga rally

Antrim Camogie League – Division 3

Brídíní Óga Glenravel 0-14 Gort na Móna 3-8

A lively Division Three encounter in Glenravel saw Gort na Móna survive a valiant comeback from the home side to maintain their 100% record in the league.

Brídíní Óga looked the better team in the opening minutes and went two points up through minors Clódagh McPeake and Sarah Fyfe. However once Gort na Móna settled they took over and scored 1-4 without reply.

Coleen McAvoy who played really well in the Gort na Móna goals

Niamh Enright started and finished that run of scores with two excellent long range points with the goal finished to the roof of the net by Ursula McCotter.

Back came the Glenravel girls with four points in a row, two from Clodagh McPeake and one each from Jaime Woulahan and Megan Law.

However disaster struck at the other end when Aisling McCafferty swept a ground shot to the net after a free was mishit and Ursula McCotter added two points before the break to give the visitors a 2-6 to 0-6 lead.

Bridini Oga’s Clodagh McPeake in action against Gorts

Points from Leona Traynor and Niamh Donnelly were cancelled out by Sarah Kennedy and Emma Dixon over the third quarter before the home side launched a comeback with five unanswered points to take the game to a single score. During that period Gort’s goalie Coleen McAvoy brought off at least three top class saves, while Caitlin McKeown at the other end brought off another fine stop to keep her side in the hunt.

Gorts needed something special and Ursula McCotter provided it from a scramble in around the area. Somehow she found the space to get a shot in for the match winning score. Niamh Donnelly pointed for the fifth time in the second half in reply, but it was too late to halt Gort na Móna’s unbeaten run.

Brídíní Óga: Caitlin McKeown, Toni Kerr, Lauren Edgar, Annie Higgins, Aisling Donnelly, Alishia McPeake, Ciara McCormick, Úna McAleenan, Erin McAleese, Sarah Fyfe 0-1, Megan Law 0-1, Niamh Donnelly 0-5, 0-3 frees, Clodagh McPeake 0-3, Jaime Woulahan 0-2, Leona Traynor 0-2.

Gort na Móna: Coleen McAvoy, Méabh Mulholland, Casey Meighan, Rose Maguire, Jane McMonagle, Kathleen Cournane, Leah Bunting, Carla Scannell, Danielle Hughes, Niamh Enright 0-2, Brogan Crossin 0-1, Aisling McCaffrey 1-0, Ursula McCotter 2-3, Sara Kenedy 0-1.

Subs: Emma Dixon, Cliodhna Mulvenna, Ennae O’Neill

Referee: Declan McGarry

Allianz SW Cumann na nBunscol Camogie

Last Thursday, 16 teams took part in the annual Allianz SW Cumann na nBunscol Camogie tournament at Roger Casements GAC, Portglenone. 13 different schools were represented and all of the children got a minimum of 8 games on the day. With a new Shield competition introduced this year, the semi-final pairings were made up of St Paul’s Ahoghill, Millquarter Primary School, St Brigid’s PS and Ballymacrickett PS with St Paul’s and Millquarter reaching the decider. Following a tightly fought game Millquarter PS came out winners on the day. In the Cup competition, the semi-finals pairings were made up of St Mary’s Portglenone, Moneynick PS, Mount St Michaels and Mary Queen of Peace with St Mary’s and Mary Queen of Peace contesting the final. Both teams showed a high standard of camogie in the final with St Mary’s Portglenone proving just too strong and claiming the Cup, a unique double for the School who won the ladies football competition a few weeks earlier. Well done to all the schools who took part and helped make it a hugely successful day.

First defeat for Latharna Og in Development league

McQuillian, Ballycastle 4-7 Latharna Óg 3-6

Photographs: Paul McIlwaine

This week Latharna Óg camogs took the long stretch down the coast road to meet McQuillan GA & CC Ballycastle; The Larne ladies arrived in Ballycastle with a large squad once again🤝🏼 Latharna Og  knew they would be up against a strong Ballycastle side; a challenging game. The match got off to a flyer, with end to end action! The intensity and discipline played between the two teams was top class. Leigh Murphy commanded the net with the backline support in front of her, a solid line out as expected. The Larne girls had a change in the middle of the park, with Ellie and Niamh in midfield for the first time, who set a great standard of play.

Both girls kept the play linked between the backs and forwards, exactly what is asked of any midfielder. Latharna Og moved the ball about the forward line, and took their chances to go 2-4 to 0-4 at half time. Although good teams always come back and that is exactly what Ballycastle did! The wind picked up much more in second half, to put the visitors under even more pressure than before. Ballycastle battled hard, and their strengths in certain areas really shone through. It went all level with 5 minutes to go and Ballycastle scored a goal and point with no reply from Larne. There were chances missed by both teams, but the Larne girls were frustrated knowing they could have had something out of this game.