Down win Ulster Minor Championship
ULSTER MINOR CAMOGIE CHAMPIONSHIP CUP FINAL
DOWN 2-12 (18) ANTRIM 1-6 (9)
The Down Minor Camogie team are 2012 Ulster Champions after an emphatic win over Antrim in Ballygalget on Thursday 1st August. The conditions in Ballygalget were perfect for a fast flowing game of Camogie and both teams did not disappoint the supporters. Down did not waste any time exerting their authority on the pitch, and Niamh Mallon’s penetrating runs down the left wing put the Antrim defence under immense pressure. Niamh was rewarded with two frees which she duly converted, to put Down two points up. However Antrim full forward Orla Donnelly put the visitors in front with a well taken goal. Antrim’s left half forward, Orla O’Hara was also causing problems for Down, however after a few positional changes the Down defence began to find their shape and were quick to close down the Antrim attack.
The Down strategy of attacking down the wings was beginning to have an impact and it was their captain Niamh Mallon, who led the charge, scoring another three points from acute angles and also setting up Brid McGourty for a finely taken point. Antrim continued to run at the Down defence however, the experience of Down full back Eimer Dynes, ensured that the back line kept their composure. Orlagh McLogan provided a safe pair of hands in goal and this gave the team the confidence to push forward and keep the pressure on Antrim. Down were duly rewarded with a well taken goal from corner forward Aislinn MacFarlane, who was quick to pick up a breaking ball on the 20 and bury the ball in the back of the net. Four further points from Niamh Mallon, (three from frees) meant that Down lead at the interval by 1:10 to 1:03.
The second half started at a blistering pace and it was Antrim who were first to register a score with a finely taken point from Eimer Byrne, however the Down defence remained resolute and were very effective in quelling the Antrim attack. Caitlin MaCartan, who was marking Antrim’s star player Ursula McCotter, was outstanding, supported by Nicola O’Gorman and Eimer Dynes. Down’s half back line were kept very busy in the second half as Antrim brought on some of their u16 stars, Ainne Mullholland, and Niamh Adams to bolster their attack.
However the experience of senior county star Catherine Rocks, and work rate of Olivia Boyle, and Nuala Carville meant that Antrim were only able to score three points in the second half. Down’s midfield dynamo, Aoife Keown, who gave a player of the match performance partnered with Aiimee MacAleenan, continued to dominate possession and this provided the foundation for further scores from Niamh Mallon. Antrim continued to keep the pressure on however when Down forward Deirbhile Savage, rattled the back of the net with an outstanding goal, Antrim hearts sank as they conceded defeat. When the final whistle blew, there were ecstatic scenes in the Ards peninsula. This was a historic day for Down Camogie and the result of a lot of hard work. Down were worthy winners of the Ulster title and having disposed of Derry and Antrim. This victory comes on the back of an All-Ireland title earlier in the year, and means that the players join a very exclusive club, with honours at both provincial and all Ireland level, and bodes very well for the future of Camogie in Down.
Orlagh McLogan, Clare Cleland, Eimear Dynes, Caitlin McCartan, Nicola O’Gorman, Olivia Boyle, Catherine Rocks, Aoife Keown, Aimee McAleenan, Monica McKay, Brid McGourty (0-1), Maria Higgins, Aislinn McFarland (1-0), Niamh Mallon (Capt) (0-11 6f), Deirbhile Savage (1-0)
Amey Coulter (on for Nicola O’Gorman), Mary-Claire Grant, Shauna O’Neill, Anna Rogan (on for Monica McKay), Ciara Gibson, Clare McGilligan (on for Maria Higgins), Danielle McCourt, Deirdre McCabe, Elizabeth Wilson, Niamh Hazard, Niamh Rogers, Nuala Carvill (on for Clare Cleland) Rhea Smyth
ANTRIM-D. McMichael, C. Boyle, L. Elliot, S. Woulahan, C. Patterson (CAPT), K. Donnelly, E. McGarry, B. McCaughan, L. McNaughton, E. Byrne, S. Cosgrove, O. O’Hara, M. Lofthouse, O. Donnelly, U. McCotter.
Scorers: O. Donnelly 1-0 M. Lofthouse 0-01, U. McCotter 0-01, E. Byrne 0-01, O. O’Hara 0-01(f) K. Donnelly 0-01. S. Cosgrove 0-01