seniors do it again in Ahoghill
Antrim V Carlow Littlewoods National League from Ahoghill
Antrim retained their unbeaten home record for the season so far with a three point win over Carlow in an eventful game at Ahoghill . Earlier in the day Antrim minors had won a decisive victory over Derry by 4-18 to 0-03 and there was a lot of optimism about the senior girls chances of making it a double victory .
Manager Aidan McKeown fielded basically the same side which drew with Westmeath at Cargin two weeks ago except that Maria Lynn was moved from midfield to replace Dervla Cosgrove at halfback ,Christine Laverty took the midfield spot and Caoimhe McAleenan came into a half forward slot in place of Áine Donnelly.
Antrim opened the scoring with captain Katie McAleese converting a free in the first minute. They were playing downhill ,so to speak and with a slight wind advantage. Eleanor Tracy levelled the scores with a Carlow free within a short time. Antrim gave away a few unnecessary frees soon after which the same player failed to convert . The Saffrons then had a purple patch of some ten minutes in which Katie McAleese converted another free and then Cushendall's Orlagh O'Hara fired over a point following a miss-hit free by McAleese. A few moments later Antrim had the ball in the Carlow net when Lucia McNaughton hit a great sideline to Chloe Drain who fed Orlagh O'Hara with a quick pass which she netted with conviction. Antrim inexplicably seemed to sit back for the next quarter of an hour and produce a series of fouls and errors allowing the Barrowsiders to run up five consecutive unanswered points including two frees and a 45m free to level the game. A burst of energy from the home side got them back in the lead when Chloe Drain dropped a long ,looping shot into the square, the goalie parried it and Caoimhe McAleenan nipped in to hammer a welcome goal home. A point from the very consistent Lucia McNaughton soon followed to give Antrim a half time lead of Antrim 2-04 Carlow 0-06
Carlow scored first in the second half via the impressive Emma Cody and Antrim replied with a McAleese free .The game became quite intense but deteriorated as a spectacle with Carlow narrowing the Antrim lead to a couple of points. A series of fouls, frees and substitutions resulted in the visitors being slightly the better team in the second half but not being able to capitalise on their dominance as Antrim and Carlow players hunted in packs to win possession keeping Referee Eamon Cassidy busy. Two fine points from play converted by Rachel Sawyer and a beautiful left sided point from Lucia McNaughton were the highlights of the second half .It is often said that it is a sign of a good team when they can win without being at their best and this was certainly true of the Saffrons today. A fair number of new faces this season will need time to settle in and learn to gel together. This Antrim squad will do well if it progresses as a unit and if they can win in County Down on 1st April it will result in a play- off game the following Sunday.
Final score Antrim 2-10 Carlow 0-13
Antrim Scorers -Orlagh O'Hara 1-02 Katie McAleese 0-06 (f) Lucia McNaughton 0-02, Caoimhe McAleenan 1-00
Carlow scorers- E. Tracy 0-07 (6f 1x45) E. Cody 0-03 K.Nolan 0-01 R. Sawyer 0-02
Antrim team -N.Cosgrove , C.Donnelly, K.Donnelly. C.Patterson, M.Lynn, A. McManus, A.Mulholland
L.McKenna ,C.Laverty, L.McNaughton, K.McAleese , C.McAleenan, O.O'Hara , C.Drain, S.McKillop
subs used -K.McKillop, D.Cosgrove, C.Wright, A.Donnelly.