Another Antrim v Derry final on the cards in Bridie McMenamin Shield

East Belfast camogs travel to Derry to face Ballerin on Saturday Picture by Pat O'Hare
Séamas McAleenan

Bridie McMenamin Shield semi-finals (Saturday, 1pm)

Cushendall (Antrim) v Carrickmore (Tyrone) (Cushendall)

Ballerin (Derry) v East Belfast (Down) (Ballerin)

THE last three finals of the Bridie McMenamin Shield have been closely-fought affairs between clubs from Derry and Antrim.

There should be another next Saturday as the semi-finals this Saturday keep this year's Saffron and Oak Leaf champions apart.

Ruairí Óg, Cushendall didn't have a quarter-final last weekend and haven't had a competitive game since their Antrim final defeat of Loughgiel on the first Friday of October.

A number of the team, however, have been active in schools' camogie including, Abi McNeill, Lára Haughey and Orlaith McAlister, who all picked up Schools' All-stars.

McAlister didn't start the Antrim final, but came on as a substitute to shoot a late goal and a point. She should get a starting jersey against Éire Óg.

The Carrickmore side is also quite young, but it didn't hinder them last Saturday when they sailed past the challenge of Crosserlough to record a 3-10 to 0-3 victory with goals from Aoibhinn Daly, Niamh Coyle and Michaela Daly.

Less than 24 hours later, Aoibhinn Daly, who finished with 1-7, and four others from the camogie team turned out for the ladies' football team in Ulster minor quarter-final. They are again double-booked this weekend.

Cushendall, however, will be favourites to reach the final and continue Antrim's strong standing in the competition.

The other semi-final could be more interesting, based on the games last Saturday; while East Belfast coasted to a 4-7 to 0-2 win in Ballycran, Ballerin couldn't reproduce their Derry final form and in the end fell over the line in Donegal.

It took a goal and two points in the second half from former Derry county star Sinéad Faulkner (née Cassidy) to see them safely through, while Caoimhe Higgins continues to be accurate from frees.

East Belfast probably surprised themselves in Ballycran after they struggled to a 1-5 to 0-4 win over Ballela in the Down final.

It helped a lot that Marion McKeever scored a goal in the fifth minute to settle them and Lauren Watterson added a second a minute into the second half. However, they dominated in general play and were deserving of the victory.

If they can take confidence from that win, they can put it up to Ballerin on their home patch, but you would still have to fancy the Derry champions to make the final.