Minors win in A championship
All-Ireland Minor A championship
Offaly 1-8 Antrim 2-16
AFTER winning the last two All-Ireland minor B title, Antrim moved up to the minor A championship this year for the first time and made a seamless transition by picking up their opening points from the group with a doubls-scores win over Offaly in Kilcomrmac on Saturday.
The half back trio of Eimear McMullan, Megan McGarry and Aoife O'Mullan were outstanding turning attack after attack and keeping the pressure off the full-backs. Caoimhe McNaughton and Maeve Kelly bossed the middle third while up front the forward unit tackled, hooked and blocked and kept the home team under pressure for the full game.
The Saffrons started brightly with early points from Roisin McCormick and Maeve Kelly before Becky Bryant responded with a point.
Erin Traynor and Maura Downey tagged on further points for Antrim to stretch the lead to 0-6 to 0-1. Indeed there was a lot of unselfish play from the visitors with players laying good ball off for players better-placed.
Offaly then brought their corner forward Jane Lowry out to play as an extra midfielder and got a foothold in the game when a long free was finished to the net by Orla Maher but Antrim responded with a series of points from Maeve Kelly and just before the break a goal from team captain Roisin McCormick who broke clear and lifted the net.
And that put the visitors ahead by 1-10 to 1-4 at half-time
Antrim started the second period where they finished the first with another major this time off the stick of Maeve Kelly. Brigid Delargy and Eimear Matthews also got on the score-sheet but Eilis Kearns and Emma McAreavey had to be on their toes as Offaly came back strongly and Aine Graham pulled off a couple f saves before sub Shauna McDonnell and Roisin McCormick finished off the scoring for the visitors.
This was a great start for the young Saffrons and they now have a short break during which Cross and Passion play their All-Ireland schools’ final, before the next group game against Kilkenny on the 16th March in Antrim.
Antrim : Aine Graham, Anna McNeill, Eilis Kearns, Emma McAreavey, Eimear McMullan, Megan McGarry, Aoife O'Mullan, Maeve Kelly 1-5, 0-1 free, Caoimhe McNaughton, Maura Downey 0-1, Roisin McCormick capt. 1-6, 0-2 frees, Erin Traynor 0-1, Mary McKillen, Brigid Delargy 0-1, Ceara Carleton
Subs : Eimear Matthews 0-1 for C Carlton (15), Shauna McDonnell for M McKillen 0-1 (45), Maria Mooney for B Delargy (50), C Carlton for M Kelly (55)
Offaly : M Horan, A Kieran, B Whelehan, L Clancy, J Cleary, A Byrne capt., S Shanahan 0-1 free, E Gleeson, C Quegan, K Kennedy 0-1, B Bryant 0-4, 0-2 frees, O Maher 1-0, E Hanlon 0-2, E Mulrooney, J Lowry.