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Saffrons storm to victory over Offaly on senior championship return

Two goals from Aine Magill helped Antrim to victory over Offaly on their return to the All-Ireland Senior Championship 
Séamas McAleenan

Glen Dimplex Senior Championship Group Two: Offaly 1-10 Antrim 4-18

AFTER 20 minutes of this Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Senior Championship opener in Birr, newly-promoted Antrim looked in bother. Offaly had scored four of the last five points to take a lead of 1-5 to 0-4.

However, the Saffrons turned in a super last 10 minutes of the half, capped by an injury time goal from Áine Magill, and they led by 1-9 to 1-6 at the break.

The home side opened their account with a goal from Máiréad Teehan after six minutes and the Moneygall full-forward was her side’s main scoring threat with Sarah Harding an able side-kick.

However ,once the Saffrons got in control of the scoreboard that threat disappeared with some top class displays from Laoise McKenna in defence, Nicole O’Neill in midfield while forwards Roisin McCormick, Caitrin Dobbin and Áine Magill tore the home defence apart.

Róisín McCormick scored four times in the first half with Caoimhe Wright picking up two points and one each for Caitrín Dobbin, Lucia McNaughton and Áine Magill.

Magill then got inside the cover and blasted to the net a minute before the break, that goal the difference at the change of ends.

There was a mini scoring blitz at the start to the second half with each team hitting three points inside five minutes (two Róisín McCormick frees and another point from Magill).

However, McCormick put daylight between the teams with a 39th minute goal, again getting one on one with Elenor Glendinning and giving her no chance.

Loughgiel club-mate Caitrin Dobbin added a goal and two points inside two minutes before the final quarter began. That left a gap of 3-15 to 1-10 that Offaly were not going to close.

Áine Magill bagged her second goal in the 51st minute and Magill and McCormick each could have had another goal but for brilliant saves from Glendinning.

Nevertheless McCormick went on to top-score with a goal and eight points in a comprehensive win for the Ulster side.

Their next game is also away from home, an Ulster derby with Down on Saturday, and a win would put them in a good position to reach the quarter-finals.

Antrim: C Graham; C Drain, N Donnelly, A Boyle; C Patterson, C Conlon, L McKenna; L McNaughton (0-1), N O’Neill (0-1 free); S McKillop, R McCormack (1-8,0-6 frees), Á Magill (2-2), C Wright (0-3), M Laverty, C Dobbin (1-3).

Subs: M Lynn for S McKillop (53), K McKillop for C Dobbin (56).

Offaly: E Clendennen; S Guinan, A Feeney, O Gorman; S Walsh, R Egan, O Phelan; A Brennan (0-1), L Mannion; S Harding (0-2), G Teehan (0-1), C Cleary; C Leahy, M Teehan (1-6, 0-4 frees), S Flannery.

Subs: S Killeen for S Guinan (47), E King for G Teehan (54)

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