Great start at Cargin by Antrim Seniors
Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 2 . Antrim V Wexford from Erin's Own Toomebridge
Referee: Paul Ryan of Kildare 18-02-18 Antrim 2-09 Wexford 1-02
Antrim lost to Wexford by two points in the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship at Wexford Park on 1st July last year but avenged that disappointing defeat today at Cargin by a well deserved 10 point margin that was earned through industrious team- work, determination and a fine display of skills in rainy conditions on a muddy pitch. Three Saffrons were making their senior team debuts and all performed very well with Ballycastle's Aoife McGowan exhibiting great confidence between the posts, Christine Laverty of Loughgiel putting in a good shift in mid-field and Cushendall's Siobhan McKillop chalking up a score of 1-01. Despite the absence of a number of last season's senior players managers Aidan McKeown and Joe Baldwin showed confidence in fielding a young team drawn from 8 different clubs which paid off with this great start to the National League season.
Wexford opened the scoring with a point from Eimear Nolan but didn't enjoy the lead for very long as Antrim replied via the stick of Orlagh O'Hara who hammered home from close range to show yet again that on her day she is one of the best forwards in Ulster. The elegant Niamh Donnelly ( one of 4 Ballycastle Donnelly's playing today ,including three sisters) converted a point from a free and O'Hara soon added another point to leave things looking ominous for the visitors.
As the pitch cut up it was taking its toll on the flow of the game and Antrim adapted better to the underfoot conditions. Kathryn Donnelly was immaculate at full back and Aileen McManus made a number of surges forward to emphasize Antrim's control of the game. Lucia McNaughton and Laoise McKenna both added well taken points in quick succession and only a second Nolan point gave Wexford any consolation as they were making no impression on the Saffron defenders who were first to the sliotar on every occasion. Half time Antrim 1-04 Wexford 0-02
At half time Antrim replaced Dunloy`s plucky Shannon Woulahan with experienced defender Aine Mulholland of The Geraldines at half back. An anticipated Wexford onslaught never materialized , however , and Siobhan McKillop smashed home a fine goal after a good solo run to leave things looking very bleak for the visitors. Antrim sensed a likely victory and brought on St.Johns diminutive dynamo Máedhbh Laverty to add her energy to Wexford's problems following a hand injury to Niamh Donnelly. The game was there for the taking as the rain continued to fall and the Saffrons pushed on taking the next four scores to put the game beyond the reach of the visitors who were visibly flagging. Siobhan McKillop pointed with great confidence, Lucia McNaughton, always on the prowl, added her second point of the game, and a brace from the ever reliable Katie McAleese showed the different between the two sides. Emily Falloon replaced Chloe Drain at full forward as the game developed and despite a consolation goal by Aoife Guiney for Wexford, Antrim prevailed as Katie McAleese took her third point to conclude proceedings .Every Antrim played contributed something today in a great team performance.
As with last year's National League season Antrim have begun well with a good win but next weekend's trip to Cork City will test the mettle of this young Saffron squad in what will be it's only big journey of the campaign. So far, so good...
Antrim lineout - Aoife McGowan, Cliodhna Donnelly, Kathryn Donnelly, Colleen Patterson,
Niamh Donnelly, Aileen McManus, Shannon Woulahan, Laoise McKenna, Christine Laverty,
Lucia McNaughton , Katie McAleese (Capt.) Aine Donnelly, Orlagh O'Hara, Chloe Drain, Siobhan McKillop. Subs used : Aine Mulholland, Maédhbh Laverty, Emily Falloon.
Wexford Lineout -L. Bates, C. Cashe, M. Harding, L. Foley, D. Doyle, M.C. Morrissey,
A. McCrea, V. Burke, L. Dempsey, E. Nolan, A. Guiney, O. Molloy, M. Kehoe, E. Doyle, S. Kelly
Subs used -S. Foley, N.Dunphy,
Antrim Scorers: Orlagh O'Hara 1-01 Siobhan McKillop 1-01 Katie McAleese 0-03 (1f), N, Donnelly 0-1f
L.McNaughton 0-02 L.McKenna 0-01
Wexford Scorers E. Nolan 0-02 .A. Guiney 1-0