Strong start lays foundation for Cross and Passion to claim Corn Uan Uladh title
CROSS and Passion, Ballycastle bridged a nine-year gap to take their fourth GAAstore.com Corn Uan Uladh title in difficult conditions in Dunsilly.
The second game was necessary after the teams could not be separated following 80-plus minutes of intense camogie on Sunday. And this game was just as intense – although the winners got a head-start on Maghera and that ultimately took them across the line.
Ballycastle shifted their team around from the drawn final, both midfielders moving into attack and Méabh O’Neill out from corner-back to pick up Therese Mellon.
Those moves paid early dividends, although during the last quarter they were back into a formation more resembling Sunday’s. But the pace and scoring potential of Roisin McCormick and Caoimhe Wright meant that they were always threatening.
Maghera’s overall performance was up on Sunday, but they couldn’t penetrate enough to nail goals, while defenders were unlucky with the early strikes for the winners.
Ballycastle got a dream start with Roisin McCormick firing home a goal in under 15 seconds, her shot from 30 metres coming off a defender on the way to the net.
Then a break and shot from Caoimhe Wright in the ninth minute was rewarded with a second goal when Cliodhna Donnelly reacted first after Emma McIvor could only parry from Wright.
Points followed for Roisin McCormick, a beautiful catch and score from the wing, and Charley McCarry – but the 2-2 to 0-0 scoreline was not reflective of general play where Maghera had the upper hand and were consistently on the attack.
They had a number of chances, but these dropped short and Aoife McGowan was able to clear to safety before Niamh Gallagher opened their account from a free in the 17th minute.
Caoimhe Wright and Bronagh Walsh exchanged points before Therese Mellon soloed in from 40 metres to crash home a super Maghera goal in the 25th minute.
However, Wright came back with a point before the break and it was 2-4 to 1-2 at the turnover.
Niamh Gallagher closed the gap with a quick point, and Meadhbh McCormick and Aine McGill exchanged points.
However, that turned out to be Maghera’s last score, although there was a let-off for Ballycastle with Niamh Gallagher right through in the 41st minute only to kick wide from close range.
There were other chances for the Derry side during the last 20 minutes, but Ballycastle weathered the storm. Their captain Caoimhe Wright hit three points on the break to seal the win and take the north Antrim side to an All-Ireland semi-final in Thurles this Saturday.