Cross and Passion sail through to All Ireland Final !

All-Ireland Senior A Semi-Final

Séamas McAleenan

Cross & Passion Ballycastle 4-10 Presentation Thurles 3-4

Cross & Passion Ballycastle controlled Saturday’s Schools’ camogie semi-final in Cushendun from start to finish to become the first Antrim school to reach the All-Ireland senior final. The Ulster champions played against a very stiff breeze in the opening half and led by two points at the break. Indeed that margin could have been greater but for a couple of mistakes that resulted in goals for their visitors from Tipperary in the 9th and 28th minute.

On the re-start however they powered away with some excellent scores including two individual goal strikes from Player of the Match Roisin McCormick who bettered Presentation’s total with a personal tally of 3-5. Equally as effective was midfield general Maeve Kelly who tagged on two magnificent long range frees during that period of dominance in the third quarter. Indeed it is difficult to pick out a Ballycastle player who didn’t produce the goods on the day with the defence exceptional in their hooking, blocking and tackling.

The only down side on a superb day was a red card issued in the 44th minute to midfielder Bronagh McKeague which slowed up their scoring although they continued to control the game from the back. Ciara Laverty got the home side off to a great start with a first minute point and the score-board read 0-2 each when a long range free from Casey Hennessey was blocked into the path of Ciara Dwan for the opening goal. Cross and Passion responded positively and points from Laverty, Roisin McCormick and Charley McCarry tied the teams at 0-5 to 1-2 after 17 minutes of play. Two minutes later CPC took the lead; Anna Connolly’s shot was parried by the goalie under pressure from McCarry and McCormick rushed in for a one-handed ground-strike to the net. Things got better in the 26th minute when more pressure from McCarry on the goalie produced a loose ball and it seemed ages before she kicked it over the line for a second goal. Although Cora Hennessey struck a free straight to the net a couple of minutes later, Ballycastle still led by 2-5 to 2-3 at the break.

The wind died a little during the third quarter, but CPC put the game to bed fairly quickly after Maeve Kelly had placed Roisin McCormick for the opening point. Bronagh McKeague then picked out Roisin with a diagonal cross-field pass and the Loughgiel ace rounded her marker to drive home from close range. In the 38th minute she chased in to block down a clearance from the goalie, pick up the sliotar and round a couple of players and change the score-board to 4-7 to 2-3.
At this point there was only one team in the game and Maeve Kelly and Aoibheann Clancy swopped points from frees before the red card was issued. During the last quarter there was just one score for each team, Roisin McCormick finishing off a good day in front of the posts with her third point from a free and Ciara Dwan scrambling her second goal in the 58th minute when the result was already sorted.

Cross and Passion : Aoife McGowan, Catie McCaughan, Katie Lynn, Aoife O’Mullan, Méabh O’Neill, Catherine McShane, Finvola McVeigh, Bronagh McKeague, Maeve Kelly 0-2 frees, Anna Connolly, Kirsty McKendry, Dearbhail Magill, Ciara Laverty 0-2, Roisin McCormick 3-5, 0-3 frees, Charley McCarry 1-1.
Subs: Katie Laverty for K McKendry (46), Carla McGarry for A O’Mullan (51), Aoife Toner for A Connolly (56)
Presentation: Aoife Butler, Megan Quigley, Anna Gavin, Molly O’Connor, Mary Ellen Phelan, Dervla Heffernan, Niamh Sweeney, Grace O’Donnell, Aoibheann Clancy 0-3 frees, Aoife Finlay, Katie Ryan, Julie Brennan, Saoirse O’Meara 0-1, Ciara Dwan 2-0, Casey Hennessy 1-0 free. Subs : Ruth Ryan for A Finlay (40), Kate Laffan for ME Phelan (55)

Referee : Eamon Cassidy (Derry).