Dobbin's surprise at clinching score which sent Saffrons into league showdown with Down

Antrim's Caitrin Dobbin in action during last weekend's National Camogie League Division 2 semi-final win over Meath at Inniskeen. Pic by Bert Trowlen
By Seamas McAleenan

“I WASN'T aware that it was the winning point. I thought that Róisín had put us ahead just before my score.”

Cáitrín Dobbin was genuinely surprised when her team-mates and management team raced out to congratulate her at the final whistle in Inniskeen on Saturday.

Seconds earlier Antrim's dream of reaching a first National League final in a decade looked lost. Meath's Claire Coffey had batted over a point at the start of injury time to give her side the lead for the first time in the match. Two Antrim attacks had yielded no scores and the Saffron supporters were getting a little anxious as the second half ran through to the 34th minute.

Then Róisín McCormick pointed and from the puck-out, Nicole O'Neill sent Caitrín Dobbin through for a dramatic winner.

“When the cheers went up for Róisín's score, I thought that was the lead point,"Dobbin said.

“When I got the ball, it was a narrow enough angle, but I was thinking that it wouldn't matter at that stage if I put it wide because time was running out. So I didn't put myself under a lot of pressure.

“All during the second half, nothing was going well for me. The sub (Megan Thynne) they brought on was winning everything. She was very strong and it was very hard to get past her.

“But the rest of the girls were showing such commitment and you kind of feel the confidence they have in you that something will come right soon. I was just so glad that the ball went over because they had kept putting ball in to me and I wasn't delivering.”

Reaching a league final wasn't what Antrim had started the competition to do.

“No, I think that we just wanted to see how far we could go. It was different from the intermediate championship last year, because there were second teams in this competition and that made the games so much more competitive.

“After we beat Down in the first match, we started to look ahead and you knew our confidence was growing. The more tough games you play and come away from with a victory, the more you think that you can go all the way.”

The Loughgiel forward had turned down earlier invitations to play for Antrim because of her dancing commitments. But she is enjoying her stint that began last autumn.

“It's not that I didn't want to play. It was more to do with finding the time to do it properly. With the split season, it is a lot easier to manage. We are not playing club camogie at the moment and that has made the county so enjoyable.

“Antrim are training and playing like a club team now and we are all enjoying it.”

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