Corn Uan Uladh semi-final
St Louis Ballymena 1-13 St Patrick’s Maghera 2-8
Caitlin Crawford gave a superb exhibition of point taking, both from play and from the placed ball to lead a St. Louis Ballymena come-back as they came from nine points down early in the second half to defeat St. Patrick’s Maghera at Lavey today.
Despite battling hard into the breeze in the opening half the Kintullagh girls looked in trouble when Eilis Toner scored St. Patrick’s second goal in the opening minute of the second half to put her side eight in front but the Ballymena college dug deep and their determination and commitment saw them slowly wear down the Maghera challenge.
Twelve months on from the first all-North Antrim final in Corn Uan Uladh we will have a second one in January after this superb second half fight-back where Crawford led the way with six superb points but she was only one of a handful of star performers.
St Patrick’s Maghera led by 1-5 to 0-3 at the break and within 14 seconds of the second half throw-in Eilis Toner, playing on her home pitch, hit their second goal and Maria Rafferty pointed a free to put the Derry school nine points clear.
But they couldn’t hold back an aggressive final 25 minutes from St Louis with Maura Downey kick-starting the show with a free and Caitlin Crawford adding two more points.
However by the start of the last quarter the score stood at 2-7 to 0-6 and Maghera were hanging on as Ballymena wasted a number of chances from frees. Then came a touch of fortune with Kimberley Burke’s shot from 40 metres deceiving the Maghera defence and ending in the net.
Spurred on by this bit of fortune St Louis pushed on with an unanswered seven points in the last eight minutes of play, Caitlin Crawford,Caoimhe Molloy and Maura Downey all firing over as the intensity of their challenge over ran their opponents.
Mary McKillen’s final point from play epitimised the determination of the Cullybackey Road side when lying on the ground and surrounded by three opponents she somehow managed to screw the sliotar over the bar.
However Maghera were on top at the start of the match and Chloe Mullan’s goal in the 16th minute had the Derry girls 1-3 to 0-1 up and Ballymena on the back foot.
Play was a little more evenly-contested for the second quarter and scoring honours shared at 0-2 each, although both teams missed handy scores as well. But, apart from that early Maghera goal and point, the second half belonged to St Louis.
However they will need to take a much higher percentage oftheir scoring chances if they are to trouble three-in-a-row chasing Cross and Passion Ballycastle in the final in mid-January.
St Louis : Kimberly Burke 1-0, Caitlin Crawford 0-6, 0-3 frees, Maura Downey 0-2, , Mary McKillen 0-2, Caoimhe Molloy 0-3 free
Maghera : Chloe Mullan 1-1, Eilis Toner 1-0, Maria Rafferty 0-4, 0-2 frees, Chloe Bradley 0-1, Bronagh Gallagher 0-1, Niamh McCullough 0-1.
Referee: Peadar Lagan (Watty Graham’s)