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Saffron Seniors win in Dublin

19 Feb 2019
Littlewoods Ireland National League Division 2
Dublin 0-7 Antrim 0-9
On a very heavy Parnell’s pitch in Coolock, Antrim got their Littlewoods Ireland National League Division 2 campaign off to a good start with a hard-fought victory over a Dublin side that had won the Junior All-Ireland crown back in September.
The Saffrons had strong performances from Laoise McKenna and Kathryn Donnelly in defence with the midfield pulling their weight throughout. Up front Nicole O’Neill was accurate from both play and free while there was good industry from Katie McAleese.
Dublin had first use of the breeze, but it was Antrim who were first off the mark with a point from Chloe Higgins. Nicole O’Neill added two frees and by the end of the first quarter, the visitors were 0-3 to 0-1 to the good.
However they failed to register another score during the half and were trailing 0-6 to 0-3 at the turnover with Cliodhna Nicoletti punishing fouls with four frees.
However Antrim were back in the groove early in the second half with midfielder Niamh Donnelly scoring almost from the throw-in. Nicole O’Neill pointed from play and a free to tie the teams on 40 minutes.
Niamh Donnelly edged the Saffrons ahead on 47 minutes with Nicole O’Neill making it 0-8 to 0-6. Although Cliodhna Nicolette responded with a free for Dublin, it was to be their only point of the second half and Lucia McNaughton fired over an insurance point with her first touch at the start of injury-time.
Team coach and Limerick native Pat Ryan was happy with the result, if not with the performance :
"We played poorly but a win is a win. We really had to grid out a result.
"However the spirit from whole panel was massive both in the lead up to the game and during it and that is important.
"Next week we play Kilkenny and that will be a whole new ball game. But I am looking forward to Wednesday’s training session in Queen’s when we have top hurling coach Eddie Murphy and sports psychologist Eugene Grace taking us.”
Meanwhile Kilkenny had a comfortable 2-9 to 0-7 win over Laois in the other game in the group. Derry did not have a game this week, but play Laois next Sunday.
Antrim : C Graham, M Lynn, K Donnelly, C Patterson, C Draine, L McKenna, M Connolly, N Donnelly (0-2), A Boyle, L McNaughton (0-1), C Higgins (0-1), K McAleese, N O’Neill (0-5, 0-3 frees), S Cosgrove, V Edgar.
Subs : A Donnelly for V Edgar (43), C Conlon for C Higgins (52), C Boyle for C Drraine (59).
Dublin : G plowman, L O’Connor, E Browne, N Gleeson, S McBride, Z Couch, S Murphy, R O’Grady, G Power, L O’Shea, J McDonald, A Whelan, M Thomas (0-2), L Walsh, C Nicoletti (0-5 frees).
Sub : E Johnson for J McDonald (22)


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