Antrim up and running with league win over Wexford

  • Littlewoods Ireland National League Division 2, Section 1CRLL9876Antrim captain Aileen McManus solos out of defence during her team’s win over Wexford in Division 2 of the Littlewoods Ireland National Camogie League in Cargin. Pic by John McIlwaine

    Antrim 2-9 Wexford 1-2

    By Seamus McAleenan (c)

    Having not won a league game last season, Antrim produced a comfortable display against visiting Wexford in Cargin on Sunday to open their Littlewoods Ireland National League Division 2 campaign with a ten points’ win.

    Having to battle through constant rain from start to finish, it was to the credit of both teams that they produced such a competent performance in the conditions with the first touch generally very good for an opening game.

    Antrim are a very young team with four of them just out of minors, and goalie Aoife McGowan still between the posts for her school Cross and Passion as they prepare for an All-Ireland senior schools’ final at the start of March.

    However the experienced Kathryn Donnelly, Aileen McManus and Katie McAleese took control of the game and brought the best of the youngsters, although full-back Michelle Harding was outstanding for Wexford who opened the scoring through Eimear Nolan in the second minute.

    A couple of minutes later however a flowing move from Antrim seemed to break down close to the Wexford goals. But Chloe Draine regained possession and fed Siobhán McKillop who picked out Ruairí Óg team-mate Orlagh O’Hara for the opening goal.

    The Saffrons gained in confidence after that score and deservedly led by 1-4 to 0-2 at the break with points from O’Hara, the Donnelly sisters and Lucia McNaughton.

    Early in the second half Katie McAleese fired in a long ball that broke off Chloe Draine and Michelle Harding for Siobhán McKillop to pick up and rush in for an Antrim goal. She added a point from a similar situation and could well have had a couple of other scores with her foraging style.

    Katie McAleese’s all-action style saw her break free to shoot three excellent long range points before Aoife Guiney thieved a consolation goal for Wexford.

    Overall however the Saffron management will be pretty happy with the team performance and gives them a lot of optimism as they head away to Cork this Saturday. The Rebellettes are strong favourites for this competition and they comfortably defeated Carlow by 1-12 to 0-3, while in the third game in the section, Westmeath hammered Down by 4-11 to 0-1.

    Antrim : Aoife McGowan, Cliodhna Donnelly, Kathryn Donnelly, Colleen Patterson, Niamh Donnelly 0-1 free, Aileen McManus, Shannon Woulahan, Laoise McKenna, Christine Laverty, Lucia McNaughton 0-2, Katie McAleese 0-3, Aine Donnelly 0-1, Orlagh O’Hara 1-1, Chloe Draine, Siobhon McKillop 1-1

    Subs: Aine Mulholland for S Woulahan (HT), Meadbh Laverty for N Donnelly (34), Emily Falloon for C Draine (55).

    Wexford : Liza Bates, Chloe Cashe, Michelle Harding, Leanne Foley, Dervla Doyle, Marie Clare Morrissey, Aoife McCrea, Victoria Burke, Katie O’Connor, Eimear Nolan 0-2, Aoife Guiney 1-0, Orla Molloy, Michelle Kehoe, Emma Doyle, Shauna Kelly
    Subs: Laura Dempsey for A McCann (38), Sorcha Foley for M Kehoe (44), Nancy Dunphy for C Cashe (44), Emma O’Connor for V Burke (59)

    Westmeath

    1

    1

    0

    0

    23

    1

    22

    2

    Cork

    1

    1

    0

    0

    15

    3

    12

    2

    Antrim

    1

    1

    0

    0

    15

    5

    10

    2

    Wexford

    1

    0

    0

    1

    5

    15

    -10

    0

    Carlow

    1

    0

    0

    1

    3

    15

    -12

    0

    Down

    1

    0

    0

    1

    1

    23

    -22

    0

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    10Antrim manager Aidan McKeown who saw his team get off to a winning start

Defending champions safely over first hurlde

All-Ireland Minor B championship 201812Antrim’s Carla McGarry sets off on a solo run during her team’s runaway win over Armagh in the opening round of the All Ireland Minor B Camogie Championship at Ahoghill. Pic by John McIlwaine

By Seamus McAleenan

Antrim 5-20 Armagh 0-2

Antrim, the All-Ireland Minor B champions from last season, got their 2018 campaign off to a great start with a comfortable win over Armagh at rain-lashed Ahoghill on Sunday.

The conditions mitigated against the skills of camogie, but the Antrim players rose above those conditions to produce a confident display. The involvement of so many of them in schools’ competition with St Louis Ballymena and particularly Cross and Passion Ballycastle has left them very sharp with a good first touch and a keen eye for a score.

Much of the play was in the opposition half of the pitch due to the dominance of the Antrim half-back line and midfield pairing of Amy Boyle and Maeve Kelly and that meant that a number of the forwards got plenty of opportunity to catch the eye.

Player of the Match was Maura Downey on her home pitch. She finished with an impressive 2-6, while Dearbhail Magill and Carla McGarry also put in good shifts.

Dearbhail got the opening score in the third minute, a well-finished goal, and the Saffrons built up a 1-7 advantage with a brace each from Maeve Kelly, Maura Downey and Charley McCarry before Nicole McBirney opened Armagh’s account from a placed ball shortly before the break.

However Carla McGarry finished off a sweeping move soon after with her side’s second goal and an interval lead of 2-7 to 0-1.

Left – Team captain Ellen Hynds in action. Right – Antrim’s Amy Boyle flicks the ball of the hurl of Armagh’s Casey Mullan. Pics by John McIlwaine

Although Casey Mullan shot Armagh’s second point during the third quarter, it was lost among a flurry of scores from Antrim with Downey grabbing her first goal in the 35th minute.

Sub Roisin McCormick hit the fourth goal to make it 4-13 to 0-2 and Downey struck for the fifth goal in the 49th minute.

A comprehensive win for the Saffrons but they have to travel to Kildare this Saturday for a repeat of last year’s final just a week ahead of Cross and Passion’s All-Ireland senior final against Loreto Kilkenny. Kildare travelled to Owenbeg yesterday and beat Derry by 1-14 to 0-2.

Antrim : Aine Graham, Emma Louise McAreavey, Eilish Kearns, Caitlin Crawford, Méabh O’Neill, Ellen Hynds 0-1, Kathryn Mullan, Amy Boyle, Maeve Kelly 0-2, Anna Connolly 0-1, Carla McGarry 1-1, Maura Downey 2-8, Charley McCarry 0-2, Dearbhail Magill 1-2, Aoife Toner 0-1.

Subs : Ceara Carlton for M O’Neill, Catie McCaughan for k Mullan, Roisin McCormick 1-0 for M Kelly, Niamh Callan 0-2 for C McCarry, Shannon Darragh for A Connolly

Armagh : Maeve Callaghan, Hannah French, Caoimhin O’Neill, Ellen Lavery, Cara Crilly, Jessica Hamill, Anita McKearney, Nicole McBurney 0-1 free, Katie Convie, Emer Taynor, Ellie McKee, Caoimhe Donnelly, Shannon Morgan, Casey Mullan 0-1, Orla O’Kane

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Missed chances cost CPC, but they went down fighting

28171138_1836370653053606_1232007678_oCPC who were beaten in Saturday’s All Ireland Colleges A semi-final in Waterford.          Pic by Mark Doherty

All-Ireland Schools’ A semi-final

St Angela’s Waterford 2-9 Cross and Passion Ballycastle 2-4

By Seamus McAleenan

There will be a new name on the trophy for the All-Ireland Junior A championship after St mary’s New Ross came through their semi-final with St Brigid’s Loughrea and St Angela’s Ursuline Convent became the first ever Waterford school to reach an A grade final by taking out last year’s beaten finalists Cross and Passion Ballycastle at the Waterford IT grounds on Saturday

However had the Ulster champions been more accurate from placed balls they might well have stayed in contention long enough to get over the line. Having said that Becky Ellis was busy – and excellent – in goals for a good part of a closely-fought encounter.

Elsewhere Enya McShane, Katie Laverty, Cassie McArthur and Nuala Devlin had excellent games for CPC while Aoife Fitzgerald’s accuracy from frees kept her team just ahead.

Riana McBride opened Ballycastle’s account with an early point and the visitors had a couple of goal chances before Ursuline’s got their chances. Aoife Fitzgeral’s point was quickly followed by a goal from Clodagh Curham and still only 6 minutes played.

Aine Magill hit back with a fine individual point and the teams were level at 1-2 each after Annie Lynn cut through the Waterford defence for a goal.

Play after that became a little fractured with only three more points scored before the break, the home side taking a single point lead into the second half.

However they opened up a match-winning gap by scoring 1-4 without reply during the third quarter, Alisha Flynn the goal-scorer.

Katie Laverty moved into defence and sub Fionnuala Kelly added energy and Alicia Butler’s goal eight minutes from the end gave them a life-line.

However St Angela’s pulled back sweepers and Aoife Fitzgerald cemented her team’s position with a late free.

CPC : B Ellis, C McArthur, M McGarry, E Kyle, F Toner, C Laverty, C Hegarty, K Laverty, E McShane, A Butler 1-0, A Lynn 1-0, N Devlin, A Magill 0-1, R McBride 0-2, 0-1 free, O Laverty

Subs : F Kelly 0-1 for C Heggarty, C O’Kane for A Butler

St Angela’s:  E Gallagher, H Leamy, L Hogan, S Cantwell, S Farrell, S Maher, J Tuohy, C Carroll, H Ryan, R Walsh, Abby Flynn 0-2, C Hoctor, Aleisha Flynn 1-0, A Fitzgerald 0-7, 0-4 frees, C Curham 1-0

Pics by Mark Doherty

Late Kenny goal snatches victory for St Mary’s

Higher Education Camogie final – Fr Meachair Cup finalSt Mary's Uni with Cup copy

St Mary’s Belfast 1-10 Athlone IT 1-9

A goal from Louise Kenny in the fourth minute of injury time yesterday evening in Ashbourne turned this Fr Meachair Cup Higher Education camogie final on its head and handed St Mary’s Belfast their first title since 2014.

That goal put St Mary’s into the lead for the first time but came after sustained pressure from the Belfast college for most of the second half.

Down by 0-8 to 0-5 at the break, St Mary’s opened the second half scoring after just 20 seconds through Player of the Match Áine McAllister, but things looked to be going against them when Rachel Monaghan scored a 34th minute goal for Athlone.

However assisted by the breeze the Ulster girls battled away with McAllister adding points in the 39th and 42nd minutes and then two in the 49th to close the gap to 1-8 to 0-10.

But suddenly the scoring dried up and, on the break, Rebecca Brennan fired over a much needed 56th minute point for Athlone, who had packed their defence in an attempt to hold on.

St Mary’s kept the pressure on and deep in injury time were rewarded when Áine McAllister dropped a free into the area and Louise Kenny swept it home.

Earlier in the game, Athlone used the breeze well to go 0-7 to 0-3 up, but two late points from Deirbhle Savage closed the gap to three for the break.

Ballinascreen’s Áine McAllister stood head and shoulders above all the players on show, with good support from Deirbhle Savage, Catherine Rocks, Eimear O’Kane and captain Catherine McColgan.

St Mary’s : S Carey, L McConville, C McColgan, S Conlon, B McCaughan, C Rocks, A McFarland, Á Maguire, Á McAllister 0-8, 0-5 frees, E O’Kane, D Savage 0-2, M McGleenan, C Wright, L Kenny 1-0, R Kelly

Subs: F Burke for Á Maguire (35), E Mone for A McFarland (63).

Athlone : C Higgins, A Donoghue, M O’Brien, C Ryan, A Caulfield, R Kelly, B McQuillan, M Jennings 0-2, G Finnerty, R Dervan, R Brennan 0-1, A Curran, N Lawless 0-6 frees, R Monaghan 1-0, D Higgins

crest.jpgSt Mary’s University College Belfast

Camogie Panel, 2018

Number

Name

Club

County

3

Catherine McColgan (Captain)

Newbridge

Derry

8

Aine McAllister (VC)

Ballinascreen

Derry

10

Eimear O’Kane (VC)

An Port Mor

Armagh

9

Áine Maguire

Ballymacnabb

Armagh

5

Bronagh McCaughan

Ballycastle

Antrim

Deirbhile McNicholl

Glenullin

Derry

12

Meabh McGleenan

Eglish

Tyrone

Emma Mone

Derrynoose

Armagh

14

Louise Kenny

Shane O’Neills

Armagh

Grainne McCann

Killyclogher

Tyrone

Jayne Hearty

Mullaghbawn

Armagh

Faoiltiarna Burke

Slaughtneil

Derry

1

Shari Carey

Loughgiel

Antrim

Karen McWilliams

Ballinascreen

Derry

2

Lisa McConville

Dunloy

Antrim

11

Deirbhile Savage

Ballygalget

Down

6

Catherine Rocks

Bredagh

Down

Alice Mackle

Tullysaran

Armagh

15

Roisin Kelly

Portglenone

Antrim

13

Caoimhe Wright

Ballycastle

Antrim

Lizzie Wilson

Clonduff

Down

Emma Campbell

Castlederg

Tyrone

Molly McKee

St Marys

Antrim

Niamh Kelly

St Marys

Antrim

Rona Mallon

St Marys

Antrim

Emma McAleese

St Marys

Antrim

Leanne McKernan

St Marys

Antrim

Caoimhe O’Kane

An Port Mor

Armagh

4

Sorcha Conlan

Dunloy

Antrim

7

Aislinn McFarland

Bredagh

Antrim

Management Team:

Paul Gunning, Paul McAtamney, Jarlath Og Burns, Aaron Duffy, Enda McAleer

CPC Juniors bid to make it a double

All-Ireland Schools’ A semi-final – Waterford IT, 12pm Saturday15

St Angela’s Waterford v Cross and Passion Ballycastle

It is more than three months since Cross and Passion Ballycastle retained their Corn Eimhear title with a 9-14 to 4-7 win over first time finalists St Catherine’s Armagh, but they know that gap in competitive action can be bridged as they made light of it last year by beating Ursuline Tipperary to reach a first final since their title-winning year 2008.

They were not meant to have conceded as much in the Ulster decider as they had been winning all their games without any pressure on their full-back line and Becky Ellis. But Armagh found gaps and it will certainly have provided a focus in training in the interim.

Last Saturday’s confident display and victory over Presentation Thurles in the senior semi-final will have really lifted the north Antrim girls and two of this team featured in the senior effort.

Ciara Laverty, centre half-back for the Juniors, had a great game at corner-forward for the seniors, scoring two excellent early points into the breeze and making penetrating runs throughout, while her cousin Katie entered the fray as a second half substitute and did well.

Both are hard workers for the team, and Katie will contribute plenty of scores as well, although most of the scoring this year has fallen to Ballycastle club player Rhiannan McBride who helped herself to 3-7 in the Ulster final.

Overall the team has a good mix from the three strong north Antrim clubs, Ballycastle, Loughgiel and Dunloy, all of whom have performed well recently outside the county in Féile.

Many from the Waterford school have also performed well in Féile with the team leaders all coming from the Galltir club.

This is the first time a Waterford school has won the Munster A grade schools’ title and they did so emphatically enough with a 3-16 to 3-7 win over defending champions Ursuline Thurles three weeks ago, although they trailed by 2-5 to 0-7 at the break.

Two goals in the opening three minutes of the second half from Clodagh Curham and Clodagh Carroll changed the game and they pushed on with scores from Abby Flynn, Aoife Fitzgerald and Curham to seal the win.

The combination play between Gailltír teammates Clodagh Curham, Clodagh Hector and Aoife Fitzgerald was a feature of that game and Ballycastle’s defence will look to break that down.

The Waterford school has risen rapidly in camogie. They were playing in the Munster C grade two years ago, won the All-Ireland B title last year and collected the Munster A crown at the first attempt.

They won’t be easily knocked out of their stride, particularly with a home tie against a Ballycastle side that has to travel the length of the country. But the visitors came close in last year’s All-Ireland final and perhaps that experience can help them through this difficult assignment.