Bridget Delargy, Antrim gets out in front of Anna Cassidy Derry to win possession during the NWP Ulster Championship Cup semi-final in Ahoghill today
NWP Ulster Under 16 Championship Cup semi-final
Antrim 2-3 Derry 3-7
DERRY arrived in Ahoghill for this NWP Ulster Under 16 Championship Cup semi-final with a much more sharpened focus and that was evident from the first attack that resulted in a pointed free for the dangerous Roisin Gallagher.
Gallagher’s early promptings forced a series of changes from Antrim with midfielder Bronagh Laverty moved back to pick up the Bellaghy ace. While Laverty did well on her, Gallagher eventually broke through in the 47th minute for a goal to put her team in charge of the game.
Even though Aimee Traynor replied with an Antrim goal, it was their only score of the half and Derry eased over the line and into the final.
In many ways it was a strange game – a goal for either side ruled out, only two pointed frees from Gallagher after 15 minutes of intensive play that created a number of openings, especially for Derry. But Derry always looked the more accomplished team and they deserved their victory.
The whole Oak Leaf defence was very strong and Antrim did not get too many chances over the hour, while up front Gallagher had great support from Bronagh McCullough, Caitriona Toner and sub Aoife Doyle.
Antrim’s defence did well, having to deal with more pressure than their opponents, but they only looked capable of winning the game during the second quarter after Bridget Delargy picked up a mishit free from Katie Laverty and found the Derry net.
Antrim then hit three points in three minutes soon after to go 1-3 to 0-2 ahead and Derry badly needed a point from sub Doyle right on half-time.
However the Saffrons couldn’t push on after the break, a 34th minute goal from a narrow angle by Bronagh McCullough, followed quickly by a Toner point, edging Derry ahead.
But they didn’t press home their advantage until Gallagher’s goal at the start of the final quarter. After Aimee Traynor responded with a goal, Gallagher fired over a free right on the side-line and Caitriona Toner pointed for a second time before threading an excellent pass through to Aoife Doyle for Derry’s crucial third goal.
Derry, A Ní Lochlainn, S McGrath, S Scullion, C Ní Mhianáin, R Downey, L Scullion, T McErlain, A Cassidy, L McBride, B McCullough (1-1), R Gallagher capt (1-3, 0-3 frees), C White, C Toner (0-2), R Loughlin, S Kelly.
Subs : A Doyle (1-1) for C White (21), M Mullan for L McBride (55)
Antrim : N Donnelly, A McNeill, E McShane, N Martin, M Mulholland, E McMullan, M Henry, M McKillen capt, B Laverty, C Hegarty, K Laverty, S McDonnell, A Traynor (1-1), B Delargy (1-1), A Lynn (0-1).
Sub : C O’Neill for C Hegarty (34)