Antrim senior camógs had a 14 point victory over Armagh in the heat at Portglenone yesterday and now look forward to an Ulster final at Casement park on 17th June.
Score -Antrim 1-21 Armagh 0-10.
Joe Baldwin’s young team registered an 14 point victory over Armagh as the Orchard County’s hopes of a place in the Ulster Championship final melted in the glare and the heat of Portglenone. The intense heat and strong sun raised fears of dehydration, but an enthusiastic squad of young water carriers kept both teams going. Antrim got off to a good start as busy midfielder Maédhbh Laverty was pulled back as she buzzed through the Armagh defence and Emma McMullan converted the free to open the scoring. Armagh offered stiff resistance as the game developed and their two outstanding forwards Joanne Mallon and Collette McSorley traded points with the hungry Antrim forwards to keep the game within reach in the first half. Antrim worked well as an attacking unit with Captain Aishling Jackson, Aileen Martin and Joanne Campbell moving the sliothar forward quickly at every opportunity. The impressive McSorley scored 4 first half points for Armagh (2f), but Antrim were able to reply through Louise McAleese, on her home pitch, Full forward Emma Connor and their top scorer of the day Emma McMullan who was a constant thorn in Armagh’s side as she registered a first half total of 6 points (3 f) to leave a half time score of Antrim 0-10 Armagh 0-6.
The second half was a different game entirely as Antrim quickly took control of the game and laid siege to the Armagh defence. Shannon Graham’s pace and strength started to present major problems to the visitors as she ran at them with style and determination. Laverty worked tirelessly to supply the Antrim forwards with accurate passes and took a nice point herself and with Emma Connor catching most of the high balls lofted into the goal area the scores piled up with a steady stream of points for Antrim. Local girl Anna Kelly and the immaculate Aileen Martin, along with Cathy Carey, managed to reduce the threat from McSorley, who still managed a second half tally of 3 points(1f), but Emma McMullan added 3 more points(2f) along with another two nice scores from McAleese. With the game well and truly slipping away from Armagh Shannon Graham delivered the killer blow, racing from the half way line with consummate anticipation to accept a clever pass forward, round two defenders and smash home a great goal. Graham soon added two points to her tally as Armagh folded and late Antrim points from Emma Connor and Substitute Niamh Donnelly left Antrim runaway winners by 1-21 to 0-10.
Manager Joe Baldwin and his assistant Aidan McKeown were very happy with their team’s display. “We need to build on this before anybody gets too excited,” remarked Baldwin. “Antrim has qualified for Another Ulster senior championship final which we were expected to do anyway. I can’t fault any of my players. Aidan and I are delighted with a 14 point victory in which nine different players scored for us from play and although we shot eleven wides our all-round performance was excellent. We are moving in the right direction with this young group of players and seven camógs made their Ulster championship debut today. We are really looking forward to Casement Park on 17th June regardless of who our opponents are.”
Antrim team - C. Johnson S.McNicholl L.Connolly U McNaughton C. Carey A.Martin A. Kelly A.Jackson M.Laverty
J.Campbell S.McKillen S.Graham E. McMullan E.Connor L.McAleese .
subs used :A. McFadden A.Ward N. Donnelly C.O’Kane A. McAtamney
1. Bronagh Moen 2. Coleen O’Hare 3. Clare McKinley 4. Caoimhe McKenna 5. Louise Toner 6.Laura Brunton7. Emma Farrell 8. Bernie Murray 9. Niamh McGeown 10. Andrea McAlinden 11. Katie O’Brien 12. Ciara Donnelly 13. Joanne Mallon 14. Collette McSorley 15. Laura McGuinness 16. Cliodhna McAteer 21. Amy Laverty 17. Brid O’Hagan 22. Fionnuala Bradley 18. Aideen Lennon 23. Ellie McClelland 19. Paula Mallon 24. Clodagh Farrell 20. Orla Curry 25. Mairead Short
Report and Picture by Antrim Camogie PRO Michael Costello