Antrim edge out Fermanagh in excellent final

Ulster LGFA Championship Final

Antrim 2-13 Fermanagh 1-15

Antrim staged a strong second half comeback to edge out Fermanagh in an excellent Ulster championship final at Healey Park in Omagh on Saturday. The Lake-siders looked on their way to victory when they led by 1-10 to 0-6 at half time and indeed that lead could have been greater as Eimear Smith fired the ball to the net for what looked a second Fermanagh goal but the score was ruled out as the half time hooter had sounded seconds earlier.

Smith was a constant thorn in the sides of the Antrim defence, hitting 0-6 in the opening half and all of their five second half points but lacked the support she needed to get her side over the line as the Saffrons came out strongly to dominate the second period.

Cathy Carey and Laura Grew exchanged points in the opening minute in Omagh but four points from the excellent Eimear Smith and a point from Sarah Bitton had Fermanagh four in front with 13 minutes gone.

It was 14 minutes before Orlaith Prenter raised the Saffrons second white flag but Fermanagh replied with points from Smith and Blaithin Bouge to go six ahead after 18 minutes and at this stage they were dominating the contest.

A couple of Prenter points and another from Cathy Carey looked to have served notice that Antrim were on the road to recovery but Fermanagh came back strongly again and Blaitin Bogue fired to the Antrim net to restore their six point advantage with seven minutes remaining to the break.

Bogue and Smith added points for Fermanagh in the period leading up to half time and Orlaith Prenter replied with a point for the Saffrons who looked in trouble as the hooter sounded for half-time but would have been relieved that Eimear Smith’s late effort was ruled out.

Whatever was said in the Antrim dressing room during the break seemed to work as the Saffrons emerged unrecognisable from the side who had struggled throughout the first half and Bronagh Devlin and Aine Tubridy hit early points.

A goal from Aldergrove’s Caitlin Taggart in the 10th minute really lit the fuse however with Orlaith Prenter following immediately with a point and suddenly what had seemed an unassailable Fermanagh lead had been reeled into a single point and the momentum was now very much with Antrim.

Fermanagh, who had been so fluent during the opening 30 minutes were struggling to put a meaningful attack together but were handed a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty but Blaithin Bogue dragged her spot kick wide.

Eimear Smith finally opened their second half account with a point in the 18th minute but two minutes later they were back under the cosh when the excellent Orlaith Prenter got in for Antrim’s second goal to move her side a point ahead as the Antrim support roared they’re approval.

Points from Orlaith Prenter, Maria O’Neill, Cathy Carey and Prenter again looked to have sealed it for the Saffrons with five minutes remaining and mover them five in front and it looked done and dusted at this stage .

Fermanagh threw everything at their opponents down the home straight and the excellent Eimear Smith did everything in her power to resurrect the Fermanagh challenge as she added a further four points during the closing stages but it was Antrim who held out to take the title.

Portglenone make history

St Mary’s Portglenone made history in Antrim today, winning the Allianz Ireland SW Antrim Cumann na mBunscoil girl’s football competition for the first time.

The progression in LGFA was very much in evidence at St Comgall’s both in the number of schools participating and particularly in the standard of football. A wonderful display of skills, sporting behaviour, team work and fun could be seen throughout the day.

After a hectic morning’s football, 16 teams were whittled down to 8 in the cup competition and 8 in the shield. All the girls were playing plenty of football!

The Semi-finals saw St Mary’s defeat Mt St Michael’s Randalstown and Moneynick over Mary Queen of Peace Glenravel. Over in the shield competition St Brigid’s Ballymena and St Joseph’s Crumlin qualified for the final defeating St Comgalls Antrim and Creggan PS respectively.

The finals saw two outstanding games  with very little to choose in both games but there always has to be a winner and St Mary’s Portglenone were the victors in the cup by the narrowest of margins whilst in the shield St Joseph’s Crumlin overcame a rejuvenated St Brigid’s.

An excellent day’s football that will live long in the memory of all involved.

Late point breaks Antrim hearts

LGFA Ulster Minor Platinum Final

Antrim 1-8 Cavan 1-9

Antrim finally secumbed to Cavan in a blood sweat and tears encounter in Crossmaglen between two excellent sides. Antrim will feel that the game was there for the taking but Cavan kicked the deciding point late in the game to break Antrim hearts.

It was Antrtim who made the early running, despite playing into the breeze and edged into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after 13 minutes. Rachael Mulholland got Antrim off to a good start with a point in the first minute with Laura Agnew adding a second in the 4th minute and another with 13 minutes gone.

Catherine Ahearne replied for the Cavan girls but when Maria O’Neill got through for an Antrim goal at the end of the opening quarter it seemed to be going the Saffron’s way.

Significantly the Saffron didn’t score in the second quarter with Abbi Connor firing to the Antrim net in the 20th minute and the Breffni Girls came strong to add points from Catherine Ahearne, Ellyanne Madden, Ava McCaul and Abbi Connor, the last two coming in time added on at the end of the opening half to leave it 1-5 to 1-3 in favour of Cavan at the break.

Antrim battled hard to close the gap at the start of the second half with Carla McKenna pointing a free to close the gap to the minimum but Cavan replied through Ava McCaul and Abbi Connor to extend their lead to three with only three minutes of the second half gone.

The scores dried up at this stage as both defences dominated but points from Maria O’Neill and Alyssa Davidson at the end of the third quarter brought Antrim right back into contention and they were looking the more likely winners at this stage.

A couple of decisions went against the Saffrons at this stage and they were adamant that Maria O’Neill should have had a close range free after being clattered as she broke through on goal but instead the Moneyglass girl was penalised.

They continued to press however and a point from Ciara Maguire drew them level with ten minutes remaining but Cavan broke forward after being under the cosh for a spell and Ava McCaul edged them ahead once more with 54 minutes gone.

Both sides were giving it everything with no quarter asked or given and Ciara Maguire looked to have sent the game into extra time when she pointed for the Saffrons with 59 minutes on the clock but Cavan created one last opportunity from the resulting kick out and Catherine Ahearne became the Breffni hero when she sent over the winner.

Disappointment for an Antrim team who have been excellent throughout the season with Cavan the only side to have beaten them this season and the excellent work being done by the Antrim management is sure to pay dividends for Antrim Ladies football in the not too distant future.

The Antrim management were gracious in defeat and wish the Cavan girls all the best on their All Ireland journey come July.

Antrim: 1 Emily McCoy, 2 Saoirse McErlain, 3 Niamh Ritchie, 4 Sarah O’Neill, 5 Broghan Crossin, 6 Aileen McDonnell, 7 Carla McKenna, 8 Ana MulHolland, 9 Maria O’Neill, 10 Laura Agnew, 11 Blaithin Ni Cathail, 12 Alyssa Davidson, 13 Aoife Kelly, 14 Suibhne Gibney, 15 Ciara Maguire, 17 Aibhe Kane, 18 Aine Kelly, 19 Raichael Mulholland, 21 Cora Leonard, 22 Aoibhin Cosgrove, 23 Robyn Murray, 24 Erin Duffin, 25 Tiernagh Ellie, 26 Sarah Fyfe, 27 Aisling Mulholland, 28 Caimhe Finucane, 29 Gaby Monaghan

Creggan have no answer to sparkling Aldergrove

Ladies LGFA Division 2

Aldergrove 8-24 Creggan 2-4

Aldergrove had too much finishing power for a battling Creggan who didn’t help their cause by hitting 15 wides over the hour while the home side had lethal finishers in Katie McArt, Anna McBride and Caitlin McTaggart and dictated matters for most of the hour.

The Crumlin girls led 1-10 to 0-0 by the half way stage with their goal coming from Anna McBride and Caitlin McTaggart, Katie McArt and Emma McArt all in fine point scoring form. Creggan enjoyed plenty of possession during the opening thirty minutes but just couldn’t hit the target.

Emma McArt added a second goal for Aldergrove on the restart before Tara Hamill got through for a Creggan goal to open her sides account.

It brought about a quick response from St. James however as Anna McBride, Katie McArt and Colleen McGuinness responded with a flurry of goals with Emma McArt, Anna McBride, Bronagh McGuinness, Paula Masterson and Katie McArt adding points to put the home side out of site.

To their credit Creggan never stopped fighting and did enjoy more success than in the opening half with Aoife McAteer, Ashleigh Larkin, Ella McAteer, Mary Murray and Megan Darragh all on target but they had no answer on the night to an Aldergrove side who were in sparkling form.

Creggan: 1 Hannah Gately, 3 Aiveen Woulahan, 4 Nayana Cauhan, 5 Rose-Carey Small, 6 Megan Darragh, 7 Maria Gately, 9 Mary Murray, 10 Ella McAteer, 13 Ashleigh Larkin, 14 Ciara McCollum, 15 Tara Hamill, 16 Caoimhe McAteer, 17 Cerys O’Neill, 18 Neva Chauhan, 19 Caitlin Hawthorne, 21 Aoife McAteer.

Aldergrove: 1 Lucy Simpson, 2 Alannah McMaster, 3 Anna Crossan, 4 Sophie Nugent, 5 Bronach Mallon, 6 Paula Masterson, 7 Rebecca Marquess, 8 Caoimhe Bell, 9 Katie Rose Bell, 10 Katie McArt, 11 Caitlin McTaggart, 12 Colleen McGuinness, 13 Orla Rooney, 14 Anna McBride, 15 Emma McArt, 16 Aine Kelly, 17 Bronagh McGuinness, 18 Ciara O’Neill, 19 Anna McBride

Fine attacking display sees Saints open with a win

Antrim LGFA Senior Div 2

 All Saints 5-12 St Galls 2-5

All Saints Ladies produced a fine attacking display in their first home league outing of the season. Goals from Sianeese Maybin (2), Marnie Kelly, Laura McAleese and Wiktoria Babuszewska led the Saints girls to a good victory against a St Galls team who also played some lovely attacking football and never stopped for the full 60 minutes.

A strong start from the throw in from Anna Kearney helped get All Saints on the board early and Sianeese Maybin scored a couple of great points to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Catriona Quigley along with Kearney and Roisin Ward were keeping the Saints forwards busy, wining possession at midfield and delivering quick ball into the willing forwards.

With Kelly, Maybin and McAleese linking well Saints should probably have been further ahead but amongst the scores there was also some wasted opportunities. The second half continued in the same vein with the Saints half back line winning possession time and again and starting some lovely counter attacking football.

The scores were harder to come by though and St Galls defended superbly at times to force the Saints forwards to recycle and show some patience which they did to keep the points coming. Young Lucy McGuigan was introduced for All Saints and got her name on the scoreboard within 60 seconds with a well taken point.

 On the night it was A good solid display by the All Saints girls, Brianna Cushenan had a really impressive outing in goals with secure handling and accurate kick outs. The defence was secure throughout with the 2 Molly’s and Niamh McMahon keeping things tight at the back.

A strong midfield showing meant the forwards had lots to work with on the night and Emma Laverty and Cara Hackett also got through a lot of work in the half forward line turning the ball over on numerous occasions.

 Maybin, McAleese and Kelly linked well and got some lovely scores but will know they also had a few opportunities that went begging.

All Saints: Brianna Cushenan Molly Brady Niamh McMahon Mollie O Brien (Aine Kearney) Wiktoria Babuszewska Sinead McLaughlin Katie Connolly(Captain) Anna Kearney Catriona Quigley Emma Laverty (Celine Hasson) Laura McAleese Cara Hackett(Lucy McGuigan) Roisin Ward Marnie Kelly Sianeese Maybin