Minors reach another final !
NWP Ulster Minor Championship Cup Semi-Final
Derry 0-3 Antrim 7-24
Sometimes it can be very frustrating watching this Antrim minor team and then a few minutes later you just have to sit back and admire their individual and combined talents.
In the All-Ireland final a couple of weeks ago against Kildare, they played poorly in the opening half and then were brilliant after the break.
In Sunday’s NWP Ulster minor semi-final in Swatragh they broke the game down into quarters. Derry looked in a good position when they trailed into the stiff breeze by just 0-5 to 0-2 after the first 20 minutes’ play. Antrim were in control but firing too many blanks in front of goal.
However then Antrim hit their spell, sparked by three wonder points from Caoimhe Wright. In the 24th minute Siobhan McKillop showed good presence of mind to take a quick side-line in the left corner. She sent Charley McCarry free and the Loughgiel forward placed the sliotar beautifully in the top corner from an acute angle.
Suddenly the floodgates opened and Antrim went in at the break 4-11 to 0-2 ahead. Emily Falloon finished a great move with a point and another sweeping move from the left wing saw Finvola McVeigh put Ellen Hynds in on goal. The Brídíní Óga player’s shot was parried by Michelle Comer but Siobhan McKillop followed through for a goal.
Two minutes later Siobhan collected a great pass from Finvola for her second goal and in first half injury-time, Caoimhe Wright also hit the net to bring her personal tally for the opening half to 1-5.
But Antrim didn’t kick on for the second half, scoring just two frees during the third quarter, the first from Wright and the other from substitute Roisin McCormick.
Then, as with the first half, the Saffrons took off once more following a 46th minute point from Caoimhe Wright.
Catherine McShane played a superb diagonal ball to Emily Falloon who picked out the inrushing Torie Edgar with another pin-point cross and the sliotar was quickly finished to the net.
There was another brilliant finish from Roisin McCormick for goal No 6 while the Loughgiel midfielder’s second in the 54th minute was a point effort that dropped under the bar at the last second.
Yes Antrim were expected to win this semi-final easily, and they did so convincingly in the end – but there were periods in which they looked quite ordinary.
In the other semi-final, Down scored two second half goals to surprise Armagh in Mayobridge, winning eventually by 2-8 to 0-10 to set up next Sunday’s final.
Antrim : Caitriona Graham, Sian McNeill, Katie Lynn capt., Méabh O’Neill, Catherine McShane, Cliodhna Donnelly, Ellen Hynds, Amy Boyle, Caoimhe Conlon, Finvola McVeigh, Siobhan McKillop 2-2, Emily Falloon 0-2, Caoimhe Wright 1-9, 0-2 frees, Áine Donnelly 0-4, Charley McCarry 1-2.
Subs : Rebecca Hargan for S McNeill (ht), Róisín McCormick 2-4, 0-3 frees for C Conlon (35), Anna Connolly for C McCarry (35), Torie Edgar 1-1 for S McKillop (38), C McCarry for C Wright (51), Maeve Kelly, Kirsty McKendry, Áine Devlin, Bronagh Devlin,.
Derry : Clare Mulholland 0-1 free, Rachel McAllister 0-1, Brooke Scullion 0-1 free.
Referee : Philip McDonald (Cavan)