County champions Loughgiel breezed through to another final when they beat Cushendall in their final round robin game at Slemish Park Ballymena on Sunday. Another comprehensive win by the champions who also had the added good news that their star forward Rosin McCormick is on her way back from a bad ankle injury. The county star has been out for a couple of months now but came on the second half and got her name on the scoresheet with three late points.
Katie McKillop and Lucia McNaughton put the Shamrock two ahead after nine minutes, but Dervla Cosgrove responded with a pointed free for Cushendall a minute later. However during the next ten minutes Loughgiel were dominant, and added six points from play, three from Caitrin Dobbin and one each from Katie McKillop, Annie Lynn and Lucia McNaughton to put themselves in control. Two more Dervla Cosgrove frees kept Cushendall within touch but a Katie McKillop goal stretched the gap out to eight, though Cosgrove added another point from a free in first half injury time to leave seven between the sides at the interval.
The second half was all Loughiel as they added seven more points in a row, all but one of them from play, as Lucia McNaughton (4), Christine Laverty, Anna Connolly and Katie McKillop found the target. Sine Woodhouse got Cushendall’s only score of the second half on 49 minutes, but Loughgiel hit another seven in a row, three of them from the returning Roisin McCormick.
Loughgiel will now play Dunloy in the final in two weeks’ time
Loughgiel booked their place in the junior camogie championship decider after emerging from a ten-goal thriller against Rasharkin in Ballymena on Sunday.
A four-goal haul from full forward Rebecca Higgins ensured the Shamrocks came out on top, despite a spirited second-half comeback in which St Mary’s reduced an 11-point lead to just five.
By the end of the first quarter, the crowd at Slemish Park had already witnessed three goals.
Kerrie Darragh’s opener for Rasharkin was cancelled out by a similar finish from Rebecca Higgins, who added her second midway through the half.
A Cora Henderson rasper saw St Mary’s respond, but with a stiff breeze at their back, the Shamrocks cut loose towards the end of the half.
Hannah McKeague found the net on 21 minutes, before Higgins completed her hattrick to leave Loughgiel in a commanding position at the break.
Henderson rifled a free to the net six minutes into the second half as Rasharkin began to climb the mountain, and a 51st minute Jade Henry goal cut the deficit to just five points.
The Shamrocks regained their composure however, with McKeague and Higgins adding late goals to finally break a stubborn Rasharkin resistance.
The South West side had started strongly when Jade Henry flashed an early effort to the left of the Loughgiel posts, but it was Alana McKendry who opened the scoring at the other end on 4 minutes.
In the 8th minute, a dropping ball was batted out by Shamrocks’ netminder Catherine Connolly, and Kerrie Darragh reacted sharpest to sweep the ball home.
Eimear O’Neill added a point from the resultant puck out as Rasharkin shot into a 1-1 to 0-1 lead, but Rebecca Higgins pulled to the net to level matters on 11 minutes.
Sinéad Carroll and Jade Henry then swapped frees as the game warmed into championship intensity, before the former nudged Loughgiel back in front in the 14th minute.
Their lead was extended two minutes later when Higgins found the net a second time, latching onto a breaking ball and finding the corner of McMullan’s net.
Hannah McKeague opened her account on 17 minutes to stretch the Shamrocks’ lead to five points, before a St Mary’s goal reduced the gap to two.
Cora Henderson collected an Aoife McFerran hand pass, ran straight at Connolly’s goal and hammered a low driven effort into the bottom corner to leave her side trailing 2-2 to 2-4.
Loughgiel responded though, and after McKeague found the net on 21 minutes, the Shamrocks sprung into action.
Points followed from Alana McKendry and another Carroll free, before Higgins wrapped up her hattrick in the 27th minute.
The full forward collected the sliotar, held off the challenge of Noeleen O’Kane and again rattled the top corner of the net.
Colleen Connolly wrapped up the first half scoring on 29 minutes, stepping out of a ruck of bodies and spliting the posts to leave her side with a 4-7 to 2-2 half time lead.
St Mary’s required a response, and with the wind now at their backs, they started the second half with a flurry of attacks.
First Jade Henry and then Kerrie Darragh threatened to burst through, but dogged Loughgiel defenders managed to spare the net until the 36th minute.
Cora Henderson stood over a free 25 yards from goal and fired a bouncing effort into the bottom corner of the net.
Rasharkin closed the gap to seven points two minutes later as Eimear O’Neill raced 60 yards through the middle of the Shamrocks’ defence to raise the white flag.
Loughgiel hit back through a Shauna Deery free on 40 minutes, before Eimear O’Neill plucked a ball from the air and slipped in Danielle McAllister to point in response.
Substitute Sinéad Hasson then came close to finding the net, almost pouncing on a handling error from Catherine Connolly, but the keeper recovered to clear for Loughgiel.
Rasharkin then had raised pulses of their own, with Noeleen O’Kane forced to scramble the ball off their goal line, before Hannah McKeague drew a fine save from McMullan with a low shot in the 47th minute.
McKeague took her tally to 1-2 in the 50th minute, before a fourth Rasharkin goal looked to have set up a nervy finale to the game.
Jade Henry collected the ball from a ruck, rounded the defender and squeezed the ball inside Connolly’s near post to leave the gap at five points with nine minutes remaining.
Loughgiel immediately stalled the momentum however, as a Hannah McKeague shot dropped under the bar rather than over it with the next attack to leave her side 5-9 to 4-4 ahead.
Rasharkin though refused to go quietly and battled back with points from Sinéad Hasson, Jade Henry and Henderson free, but a fourth goal for Rebecca Higgins ended the conversation in the final minute.
The forward again showed good strength to fend off the tackle and slot the ball into the bottom corner to copper-fasten her side’s place in the junior championship final against Cushendall.
Subs: Erin Connolly for Aoife McMullan (40), Niamh McCaughan for Ellie Glackin (51)
Referee: Tommy Toland (Davitt’s)
Player of the Match – Hannah McKeague
Rebecca Higgins provided the cutting edge with four goals, but it was McKeague’s industry and finishing that gives her the nod. Involved in much of the build-up play for the Shamrocks, the half forward was both provider and finisher, ending the game with 2-2 from play.
Turning Point – McKeague goal
Rasharkin had emptied the tank in the second half to haul themselves back into contention with Jade Henry’s 50th minute goal, but McKeague’s somewhat fortunate effort immediately afterwards restored the eight-point gap that would prove the winning margin. A real sucker punch for the Dreen girls.
Score of the Match – Henderson goal With the game succumbing to the frenetic energy of championship, Cora Henderson collected a hand pass from Aoife McFerran in the 17th minute, speeding away from her marker and hammering a low finish so hard into the bottom corner that it hit the stanchion and rebounded
Dunloy’s strong start, which saw them register 1-7 in the first 22 minutes, while holding Ballycastle scoreless set up Dunloy for a place in the final of the Travel Ireland Coaches Antrim senior Camogie Championship at Loughgiel on Saturday. Ballycastle will probably be happy enought with their overall performance, but they will rue squandering a couple of good goal chances when the game was still up for grabs.
Dunloy dominated the opening 20 minutes to lead by 1-7 to 0-0. The goal came in the 9th minute when Caoimhe Molloy’s low trajectory free was blocked down into Cassie McArthur’s path. The Molloy sisters, Caoimhe (four) and Katie (two), accounted for six of the points.
However, during the last eight minutes of the half, Áine Donnelly and Rianna McBride slotted two points each and suddenly Ballycastle were back in the game.
Although Áine Magill pointed on the re-start, Ballycastle were competing well and were at 1-9 to 0-7 when they won a penalty with 12 minutes remaining. Niamh Cosgrove slotted it to the net, but the score was disallowed as the county defender had stepped inside the 20m line.
Dunloy knew they had got off the hook and extended their lead with points from the Magill sisters and Nicole McAtamney before Niamh Cosgrove and Áine Donnelly completed the scoring with late frees.
Dunloy really impressed during that opening spell when they held their opponents scoreless. However they struggled thereafter and have a lot of work to do over the next fortnight if they are to move Loughgiel from their pedestal.
Dunloy: M Martin, K Mullan, E Kearns, D Elliott, C Crawford, C Conlon, K Laverty, S McIlhatton N McAtamney 0-1, C Molloy 0-4 (2fs), E Johnstome, K Molloy 0-3, E Elliott, C McArthur 1-1, Á Magill 0-2.
Subs: Bríd Magill 0-1 for S McIlhatton (40), C Boyle for E Johnstone (45), Brónagh Magill for C McArthur (51).
Ballycastle: B Ellis, NA Donnelly, E McShane, F McIntosh, N Cosgrove 0-1 (f), C McShane, O Donnelly, F Kelly 0-2, C Hegarty, E Laverty, K Mullan, R McBride 0-3 (2fs), T O’Neill, N Devlin, Áine Donnelly 0-4 (1f).
Subs: J McIntosh for T O’Neill (HT), M O’Neill for K Mullan (43), Aoibheann Donnelly for C Hegarty (51), C Donnelly for R McBride (53).
Geraldine’s Portglenone progressed to the intermediate decider on Saturday afternoon but despite the eight point difference in the score line, this semi-final wasn’t decided until the closing stages.
Despite having an element of control for the majority of the contest, the Portglenone ladies were having to weather a second half storm from Tir na nOg who had pegged the Geraldine’s back to just three points on a number of occasions in the second half, despite Portglenone holding a seven point lead at the interval.
There was only daylight put between the sides when substitute Jane Carey scored the Geraldine’s second major with her first touch after coming on as a substitute. On the field barely five minutes, Carey was in the right place at the right time to book her sides place in the 2022 final.
Overall, the Portglenone side were worthy winners. Their ability to retain possession under pressure and better use of the sliotar throughout the hour was the difference between the sides.
Tir na nOg will look at the opening quarter when analysing this contest and realise this is where the game got away from them. Despite Aine Devlin opening the scoring with a free in the third minute, Portglenone went through the gears and dominated the next ten minutes. They kept Tir na nOg scoreless while surging into a seven point lead before Emma Louise McAreavey added to their score. Portglenone’s opening goal came in the fourth minute, Eimear McKee on hand to sweep home the sliotar after Ciara Devine saved Roisin Kelly’s initial shot.
Portglenone raised white flags from Shannen Darragh (two), Aine Mulholland and a brace from Roisin Kelly to leave the score 1-5 to 0-2 after just ten minutes.
Orlaith Prenter scored Tir na nOg’s third point of the game, splitting the uprights despite the close attentions of the Portglenone defence but a trio of Geraldine’s points from Roisin Kelly, Eimear McKee and Anna Kelly kept Portglenone in control.
Prenter’s second score was the highlight of Tir na nOg’s first half, collecting the sliotar form Cameron McGaughey, Prenter showed all her skill and speed before dissecting the posts. The White Hill side were thrown a life line when they managed to score their first goal of the semi in the 26th minute. Prenter’s effort for a point was prevented from going over the bar by Portglenone ‘keeper Patricia McCarry. Niamh Martin was first to the rebound and swept home.
It was Tir na nOg’s last score of the half however as Portglenone underlined their first half superiority with three unanswered scores. Anna Kelly pointing either side of Roisin Kelly’s white flag to leave the half time score 1-11 to 1-4 in favour of the Geraldine’s.
The final flourish of the first half gave the Portglenone side a healthy half time advantage and despite having the elements at the back in the second half, it was going to take something special for Tir na nOg to get back into the game. A fine score from Aine Devlin got them firing again before their second major came under fortuitous circumstances. Standing over a free from just inside her own half, Bronagh Devlin played a one-two with Siofra O’Dolan. Sending the sliotar high, looking to split the posts, the sliotar dipped wickedly and managed to drop into the back of the net. The life line Tir na nOg needed but they couldn’t capitalise on this piece of good fortune. A serious of missed frees hurt their challenge while Aoibhinn McCloskey was finding her range in attack for the Geraldine’s. Splitting the posts in quick succession to reignite the Portglenone challenge.
Tir na nOg were playing with more freedom in the second half and began to make better use of the sliotar but the Geraline’s defence were giving little away.
Cameron McGaughey was hugely influential in the second half and deserved her point in the 48th minute while Bronagh Devlin’s ’45 in the 51st minute left just three between the sides and Tir na nOg sensing the opportunity to reel in the Portglenone advantage.
It never materialised however. McCloskey’s third point of the half preceded the game defining goal. Roisin Kelly with the initial break through the heart of the Tir na nOg defence but her effort was heroically blocked by Caitlin McGaughey. Jane Carey was first to the loose ball and made no mistake, firing in to the empty net and sealing her sides place in the final.
Tir na nOg continued to push for scores and landed a number of dangerous balls into the heart of the Portglenone defence but they couldn’t breach the Geraldine’s goal line. Scores from Roisin Kelly and Anna Kelly (free) came either side of Aine Devlin’s third point of the game and left the Geraldine’s ahead by eight at the final whistle.
Geraldine’s: Patricia McCarry; Derbhla Dobbin, Ailisha Convery, Maria Mooney; Maria McLarnon, Kiara Duffin, Cristin O’Kane; Aine Mulholland, Laura McAleese; Aoibhinn McCloskey, Anna Kelly, Shannen Darragh; Roisin Kelly, Orlagh Convery, Eimear McKee
Subs:Eimear Doherty for S Darragh (44); Jane Carey for O Convery (50); Orlagh Convery for P McCarry (55)
Scorers: A Kelly 0-4 (2fs); S Darragh 0-2 (1f 1’45); E McKee 1-2; R Kelly 0-4; A McCloskey 0-3; J Carey 1-00; A Mulholland 0-1
Tir na nOg: Ciara Devine; Katie Bonnes, Caitlin McGaughey, Caitlin Martin; Susan Shannon, Bronagh Devlin, Siofra O’Dolan; Emma Louise McAreavey, Cameron McGaughey; Aine Devlin, Emily Falloon, Niamh Martin; Rachel Bonnes, Hannah Crilly, Orlaith Prenter
Scorers: B Devline 1-1 (1 ’45); A Devlin 0-3 (2fs); N Martin 1-00; O Prenter 0-2; EL McAreavey 0-1; C McGaughey 0-1
AIMEE Traynor was the scoring star as Brídíní Óga Glenravel gained revenge for their quarter-final defeat last year by Cargin and reached their fourth Doherty Woodshavings Antrim Intermediate decider in six seasons with a six points’ win in Randalstown.
The scoreline flatters the winners though as Cargin went into the lead at the start of the fourth quarter having held the Glenravel girls to just a Traynor point during the third quarter.
However Glenravel and Traynor found their scoring touch once again and hit the front with two goals from the diminutive corner forward, the second coming at the start of injury time.
Cargin got the better start to the game with the first of three goals from Emer McErlean and a point from Eleanor Mallon.
However Traynor, with a point, helped Glenravel get a foothold in the game and they were back on level terms in the 6th minute when Ashling Millar crashed a shot off the post and Erin McAleese followed through to find the net.
Glenravel pushed on from there and two Eimhear McAleenan frees either side of a Traynor point put them three up at the end of the first quarter.
Cargin however hit back with Gráinne McAtamney setting up Emer McErlean for her second goal. Traynor however found space in the corner at the other end and floated a lovely ball across the centre for Molly Woulahan to bat home from the edge of the square.
Glenravel then pushed on with another goal from a fine move involving Erin Coulter, Torie Edgar and Woulahan with Ashling Millar through one-on-one. Katie McAnenley pulled one back for Cargin, but they still trailed by 3-4 to 2-2 at the change of ends.
The third quarter belonged to Cargin with a third McErlean goal, two fine points from Maria O’Neill, another from Cathy Carey and then two from McAnenley edging them into a 3-7 to 3-6 lead.
Traynor pointed to level in the 48th minute and four minutes later Erin Coulter found her with a long ball out of defence. She made room to kick to the roof of the net.
Cargin had chances to close the gap, but only managed an Eleanor Mallon point as the game slipped towards the three added minutes. During the first of those Traynor found the net again with a subert finish and Brónagh Laverty raced through from defence for the final score.
Not a totally convincing performance from the winners, but one that gets them into the decider where they meet Geraldine’s Portglenone who led from pillar to post to oust 2020 champions Tír na nÓg in the earlier game in Creggan.
Brídíní Óga: O Donnelly, M Mulholland, M McKenna, A Mulholand, E Coulter, L McKenna, B lLaverty 0-1, E McAleese 1-0, S Fyfe, K Laverty, M Woulahan 1-0, E McAleenan 0-3 fs), A Traynor 2-4, V Edgar, A Millar 1-0.
Cargin: M Creelman, E O’Neill, A Thompson, S O’Boyle, T O’Neill, M O’Neill 0-2, B Laverty, C McFadden, S O’Neill, A Blue, E Mallon 0-2 (1f), C Carey 0-1, G McAtamney, K McAnenley 0-2, E McErlean 3-0.
Sub: O Rooney for A Blue (35), for B Laverty and for E McErlean (both 56) Orla Dobbin and Niamh Donnelly