Derry must face Down in Ulster senior camogie final
NWP Recycling Ulster senior camogie semi-final: Antrim 1-10 Derry 2-8
SUNDAY'S NWP Recycling Ulster senior camogie semi-final in Ahoghill delivered the expected result, a win for holders Derry, but no-one forecast that Antrim would push them to the final whistle.
They achieved that by bringing an intensity to their play especially during the first half when defence held strong as wing-forwards Lucia McNaughton and Áine Donnelly carried the game to Derry.
Kelly Marie Heggarty and Aine McAllister held the line well for Derry particularly during the opening half and the holders were that little bit more physically stronger than a younger Antrim side. Overall however both sets of players contributed well to a keenly contested game in which seven different players from each side kept the score-board turning.
In the end though Derry had that little bit of experience over the Saffrons, probably encapsulated in the opening goal when the Antrim defence had at least two attempts to clear the sliotar before a half-hit ground shot was pounced on by Grainne McGoldrick.
At the other end points in each half from both Caoimhe Wright and Áine Donnelly could easily have been green flags as both were through one-on-one with Niamh McQuillan.
The opening half was a cagey affair, more notable for the intensity of the tackling and blocking rather than for open play. Antrim went three up with a couple of excellent scores from the Donnelly sisters and Lucia McNaughton, before Derry found their feet with a burst of 1-2 inside four minutes, their total at the break with Antrim now on 0-4.
Antrim then started the second half with a burst of 1-2 inside the opening six minutes, points from Katie McAleese (free) and Orlagh O’Hara either side of a neat goal from Caoimhe McAleenan when a point effort from O’Hara was blocked out for the Brídíní Óga player to sweep one-handed to the net.
However over the next ten minutes, Derry cancelled those scores out with 1-2 of their own, points from Éilís Ní Chaiside and Caoimhe Glass followed by a goal from Dervla O’Kane.
The last quarter saw several exchanges of points, but crucially Antrim never got their noses in front and Derry sub Aoife Shaw made it 2-8 to 1-9 before Aine Donnelly’s late goal half-chance that produced the final point.
Antrim: N Cosgrove, M Lynn, K Donnelly, C Patterson, C Drain, A McManus, C Donnelly, N Donnelly 0-1, L McKenna, L McNaughton 0-1, K McAleese capt. 0-3 frees, A Donnelly 0-2, O O’Hara 0-1, C McAleenan 1-1, C Wright 0-1.
Subs: Á Mulholland for C Donnelly, C McCarry for C McAleenan, A Boyle for C Wright
Derry : N McQuillan, KM Hegarty, B Ní Chaiside, N Quinn, G McNicholl, A Ní Chaiside, J McGuckin, E Ní Chaiside 0-1, L McKenna, M McNicholl 0-1, S Mellon, A McAllister 0-1, C Glass 0-1, G McGoldrick 1-3, 0-3 frees, D O’Kane 1-0.
Subs: A Devlin for D O’Kane, A Shaw 0-1 for S Mellon
Referee: P McDonald (Cavan)
NWP Recycling Ulster senior camogie semi-final: Down 2-18 Armagh 0-7
IT WAS clear from the opening ten minutes of this NWP Recycling Ulster senior camogie semi-final in Mayobridge that this was a much more focussed Down team than that which needed to win a play-off with Kildare to retain their Division 2 status in the National League.
There was an intensity from the start and all the players who had worn the Ulster jersey last weekend stood up to take control; Niamh Mallon scored seven points in the first half from open play, Sarah Louise Carr and Paula O’Hagan kept plenty of pressure on while the half-back line of Catherine Rocks, Fionnuala Carr and Clare McGilligan blocked Armagh’s path to scores.
The Orchard county team was under pressure constantly and Catherine McCooey, Sarah Mooney and Lianne Donnelly, scorer of two second half points, came out of the game with reputations relatively unscathed.
Those seven Mallon points were the pick of the opening half, with Aimee McAleenan firing over two from long range as well and Maria Higgins the goal-scorer, her effort from 45 metres dipping at the last moment just between bar and post in the 17th minute.
Armagh’s response to a first half total of 1-12 was three frees from Ciara Donnelly, but her side improved a little in the second half, although the changes that the home side attempted didn’t really pay off.
Niamh Mallon was moved to full-forward to kill the game off, but got a poor supply of ball, while point efforts from further out fell into the goalie’s hand. Mallon added just a point to her total with Sarah Louise Carr shooting two more points.
Meanwhile Armagh had brought their total to seven with four points from open play, the pick of which was Catherine Beagan’s effort.
However Down finished the game with a little style; a great team move started deep in defence was played through for Caitlin McCartan to grab a second goal and put the Mourne girls through to next Sunday’s final.
Down: M McNally, O Caldwell, A Savage, N Kelly, C Rocks, F Carr, C McGilligan, C Fitzpatrick, P O'Hagan 0-5, 0-4 frees, A McAleenan 0-2, SL Carr 0-3, L Wilson, O Gribben, N Mallon 0-8, M Higgins 1-0
Subs: E Rushe for M Higgins, C O’Hare for O Caldwell, D Magee for A Savage, C McCartan 1-0 for SL Carr.
Armagh: C Devlin, N Woods, T Maguire, A Maguire, S Mooney, C McCooey, E Smyth (Madden), J Hamill, L Donnelly 0-1, R Merry 0-1, E Smyth (Ballymacnab), C Beagan 0-1, B O’Brien, C Donnelly 0-3 frees, E Mone.
Sub: S Woods for E Smyth (Madden), H French for B O’Brien, F Kelly for N Woods
Referee : O Elliott (Antrim)
Down championship draws
The draws were made at the weekend for the Down Senior championship and holders Clonduff will start their defence of the title with an away game against 2017 Intermediate champions Castlewellan.
Then it is on to a semi-final pairing with either Liatroim, who won the last of their record 27 titles two years ago, or last season’s surprise finalists Ballygalget, who could be a dark horse chasing only a second title exactly 50 years on from the first.
In the other half of the draw, Ballycran and Portaferry should emerge from their quarter-finals and that could produce a feisty enough semi-final at the start of September.
Ballycran are also involved in the Intermediate championship, but Longstone should come through one side, while Ballyholland or Kilcoo will be their opponents.
Meanwhile in the Junior championship it should be a Mayobridge v An Ríocht decider after the pair came out in opposite sides of the draw.
Down Senior Championship
(1) Ballycran v An Riocht
(2) Castlewellan v Clonduff
(3) Liatroim v Ballygalget
(4) Portaferry v Ballela
Semi Final 05/09/18
(A) 3 v 2
( B ) 4 v 1
A v B
Replay if needed 29/09/18
(A) Ballyholland v Ballycran
(C) Longstone v Bredagh
(D) Kilcoo v Winners A
C v D
Replay if needed 22/09/18
(1) Dromara v Kilclief/ Ben Dearg
(2) An Riocht v Darragh Cross
(3) Aghaderg v Drumaness
(4) Mayobridge Bye
(A) Mayobridge v Winners 3
( B ) 1 v 2
A v B
Replay if needed 08/09/18