Back in the Day - Down's stand-in camogie keeper is outstanding - The Irish News, July 12, 1999
All-Ireland Senior Camogie C’ship quarter-final: Down 3-14 Dublin 3-9
SIXTEEN-year-old stand-in goalkeeper, Ciara McCarthy, was the toast of the Mourne county on Saturday after she brought off several excellent stops for Down to become the first Ulster side in 20 years to contest the All-Ireland Senior Camogie semi-finals on August 7th.
When regular keeper Teresa McGowan had to pull out, Ciara the minor goal minder was called into the panel on the morning of the game, and she responded with a confident performance, belittling her inexperience at this level.
Three first half goals in a five minute spell between the 17th and 22nd minutes built the platform for victory, although prior to those goal strikes, Down looked very nervous, wasting several openings.
However they were a transformed team when Jennifer Braniff’s longrange effort dipped in at the far post. Cathy Mulholland, a sister of Down footballer Shane, crashed home a second within a minute and then pounced on a goalkeeping error for Down’s third a few minutes later, to put her team 3-6 to 0-2 ahead.
Dublin regained their composure with a goal from their most dangerous player Cathy Walsh and were well in contention at the break on a 3-8 to 1-4 deficit with second half wind advantage to come.
Down however put in a great five minute spell after half-time – registering three unanswered points, and then they came under sustained pressure which brought several fine saves from Ciara McCarthy.
She was not to blame for the two which beat her near the end, goals which had some spectators and players thinking back to the 1992 All-Ireland Intermediate final, which Down led comfortably but were hit with four Dublin goals in the last ten minutes.
That time span was not available this time for Dublin, and Down deservedly go through to next month’s semi-final against Tipperary.
Down: C McCarthy, D Savage, D Greenan (capt), A Morgan, P Greene, E Mason, M McNeill, J Henderson (0-1), J Braniff (1-3, 2 frees), V Hynds (0-1), M McAleenan (0-6, 2 frees), M Murray, A Fearon (0-1), C Mulholland (2-1), C McGrath (0-1): Subs: C McGovern for M McNeill 47 mins.
Ref: Catherine O’Hara (Antrim)
Ulster MHC Final: Antrim 2-13 Down 0-3
DOWN’S hurling woes continued on Saturday when they were hopelessly overrun by Antrim.
On the evidence of this performance, the future of Ulster hurling doesn’t seem to be in altogether safe hands with the ball skills and stick work shown by both teams decidedly sub-standard.
Antrim were far too good for a Down team who failed to score from play.
Down had their goalkeeper Gareth Johnson to thank for several brilliant point blank saves from John Martin and impressive Antrim substitute Leo Bailey which kept the scoreline respectable.
Antrim continued to dominate and McGuckian added the finishing touch two minutes from the end. Johnson was unlucky in the Down goal having initially blocked Scullion’s chance, the sliothair got stuck just before the endline and McGuckian was on hand to rifle it into an empty net.