Antrim will need to dig deep to see off Derry in Ulster semi-final
Ulster Senior Camogie Championship semi-final: Antrim v Derry (Saturday, Loughgiel, 2pm)
WHEN these two teams met in Owenbeg in the league at the end of May, there was little between them over the first half hour. Then a run of Antrim scores opened a gap and the Saffrons were comfortable winners by the time the final whistle sounded.
Injuries, however, will rob both teams of more experienced players as they head into a rematch.
Derry’s key forward Karen Kielt, who spent more than a year out with a cruciate injury a couple of seasons ago, ruptured her Achilles tendon in a club game a couple of weeks ago and she will be a huge loss to the Oak Leaf forward line – even though she was held scoreless in the league encounter.
That league game also saw Antrim’s Chloe Drain sustain a broken jaw and Maeve Connolly had to pull up with a groin problem that has kept her on the sideline since. However Antrim rearranged their defence and played the three games in the knock-out stages of the league without Drain and Connolly.
Antrim, however, are a skilful team and have developed a style of play through the league to suit their players with the diagonal ball really bringing the best out of corner forwards Róisín McCormick and Caitrín Dobbin while Anna Connolly with her pop passes over the top has been catching out defenders.
The old saying is that a team is only as good as their last game and Antrim’s was a narrow defeat to Down in the league final while Derry got a boost from a relegation play-off victory against Tipperary who had been the Division Two champions from 2019.
That will have lifted Derry who badly needed the game after just two outings against Down and Antrim in the group stages.
However, Antrim have played more games and they have all been intense. Coming back from the death to push Down to the edge in the league final was also impressive. Intensity will be the key to this game with Antrim expected to reach next weekend’s final.