Bridie McMenamin Junior Shield Camogie
Dunloy 4-12 Ballinagh (Co. Cavan) 0-10
By Paul McLean
A pair of goals in each half was the difference in this quarter final of the Shield played in Co. Cavan. A hat trick of placed ball goals from Orlagh O’Neill and one for Erin Traynor kept Dunloy well in control in what was a tough physical encounter.
This was Dunloy’s first venture into Ulster in 9 years and were up against a Ballinagh team who had won the Cavan Junior championship for the first time in 7 years so to both sides this was a brand-new experience.
Ballinagh settled much quicker than Dunloy to register the game’s first score through an Aishling Smith point. Erin Traynor then tied the scores up with a well taken point from 45m out but a free by Rebecca Dunne restored the home team’s advantage as they started to look the better side in the opening ten minutes of the match.
Dunloy began to ‘find their feet’ as Caoimhe Quinn and then corner forward Lisa McGuckian fired over points to give Dunloy the lead, and one that they would not lose again. With the game so frantic and tight it would take piece of luck to give Dunloy their first score. Dearbhail Magill was fouled out the field after good work in the defence by Noelle Martin. Orlagh O’Neill stepped up to hit the resultant free and though it first appeared to be going over the bar the dipped at the last second and dropped under the crossbar and into Aoife McDermott’s net to give her team a major boost. It was a boost that this young Dunloy team needed as they had struggled in the opening 10 mins of the game to settle.
The home side hit back and two quick points from Rebecca Dunne and Josephine McGuire cut the gap to 1-03 to 0-04, but Erin Traynor fired over her second point to restore the 3-point cushion for the Antrim champions. The lead would soon be doubled as Orlagh O’Neill got her second goal of the game, yet again from a free. Her free dropped short and somehow ended up going past Aiofe McDermott to give Dunloy a valuable 6-point advantage.
Rebecca Dunne again was accurate from the placed ball to make it 2-04 to 0-05 but Orlagh O’Neill fired over a free to wipe to stretch the gap to six again and afterwards Lisa McGuckian and Ballinagh’s Eadaoin McDermott exchanged points to leave the half time score Dunloy 2-06 Ballinagh 0-06.
Ballinagh changed their keeper and moved the full back Emma Gumley into nets as they set about trying to get back into this game. Dearbhail Elliott and Rebecca Dunne traded points in the opening five mins of the half before Orlagh O’Neill knocked over another free to stretch the lead to seven.
Dunloy’s defence was playing much better in the second period as captain Jessica Rush, Fiona Hills and Noelle Martin were going through a mountain of work shutting down the Ballinagh attacks. As the game wore on they were sending long balls into the box more in hope than anything else as they struggled to make inroads into the score line.
Keeper Aoife McDermott, now operating in the half forward line, fired over a nice free from around the halfway line to keep Ballinagh with hope of trying to claw back the Dunloy lead, but that hope was soon to be extinguished as corner forward Orlagh O’Neill completed her hat trick of goals, once again from a free.
Erin Traynor’s pace and direct running was causing all sorts of bother in the Ballinagh back line so much so that she was harshly taken down on the 21-yard line. Orlagh O’Neill stepped up to hammer the ball low and hard to the net to make it 3-08 to 0-08. This effectively killed the Cavan girls challenge off. Dunloy were able to ring the changes with Aislinn Elliott, Luanne Smyth & Amy Johnston entering the play.
Orlagh O’Neill fired over her third point for the day after Dearbhaill Magill was fouled. Caoimhe Quinn followed this up with a point from close range and though Ballinagh got two final scores from Aoife McDermott and Josephine Maguire to end their scoring for the day as their challenge faded out.
Dearbhaill Magill got the score that her work rate for the hour deserved after a great pass from Clare McGuckian put her into space to raise the white flag. The final score of the day went to Aislinn Elliott who beat two defenders to fire it from wide on the right and over the bar. A great score to finish up a good day for Dunloy.
Ballinagh to their credit never gave up for the hour and when you consider they only got camogie going a number of years ago in the parish they are making great strides with the current crop of players. They suffered though with their lack of scores from play as they only registered 4 points from play for the hour and didn’t get a single shot on the Dunloy goal which cost them.
For Dunloy it was a much better second half after a lethargic first half hour where the three hour bus journey down didn’t help their preparations. Goals win games and it was the reason why Dunloy were in total control from the moment the first one went in.
In nets Liza McAllister was solid and controlled her entire back line. In front of her Jessica Rush was outstanding and lead like a captain in the back line. Noelle Martin and Fiona Hills had a busy hour but each time they were needed they cleared their lines.
In midfield Eilish Kearns and Clare McGuckian came to the fore in the second half when they got control of their area.
Up front Erin Traynor was yet again in great form with her strong running and willingness to take on the defenders. Dearbhaill Elliott and Dearbhaill Magill took a lot of abuse in the tackle but it was that work rate and earning frees that was the telling difference and along with Aislinn Elliott they all had a good game.
Orlagh O’Neill took full advantage of the home side’s indiscretions and her total of 3-3 from placed balls made the difference in the end.
Orlagh O’Neill 3-03 (all frees), Erin Traynor 1-02, Lisa McGuckian 0-02, Caoimhe Quinn 0-02, Dearbhaill Elliott 0-01, Dearbhaill Magill 0-01, Aislinn Elliott 0-01
Rebecca Dunne 0-04 (all frees), Aiofe McDermott 0-02 (all frees), Josephine Maguire 0-02, Aishling Smith, Eadaoin Maguire 0-01
L McAllister, S O’Mullan, J Rush, L McConville, N Martin, S Conlon, F Hills, C McGuckian, E Kearns, E Traynor, D Elliott, C Quinn, L McGuckian, D Magill, O O’Neill, Subs – A Elliott, A Ingram, L Smyth, M Ingram, A Johnston, K Kelly, K McFerran
A McDermott, M Bradley, E Gumley, T Beard, K McAvoy, A Reilly, R Dourneen, D Duffy, A Smith, R Dunne, E McDermott, R Dourneen, M Duffy, J Maguire, C Reilly
Pics by Shauna Cunning