GAA Football

The fifth and final meeting between Fermanagh and Antrim Ladies

Louise Gunn

TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship Final Replay: Antrim v Fermanagh (Today, Athletic Grounds, Armagh, 5pm, live on TG4)

ULSTER duo Antrim and Fermanagh meet for the fifth, and most definitely the last, time this year in this evening’s TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship Final replay in Armagh’s Athletic Grounds (5pm).

The sides played out a dramatic 1-13 apiece draw in Croke Park two weeks ago with the Saffrons, despite leading by four points early in the second half, needing a late Orlaith Prenter free to salvage a draw for the Ulster champions.

Antrim currently hold a 2-1 advantage in terms of wins from the four games so far, including the Ulster final. They started as favourites last day and they probably do just edge that tag once again but this really is too close to call.

This game, which brings the curtain down on the inter-county season, has a lot to live up to if it is to be any way as exciting as the first game. It had two sin bins, a disallowed goal, a penalty, 20 wides and some impressive shooting, notably Blaithin Bogue finishing with seven points, all from play for Fermanagh, Eimear Smyth with 1-3 and six points for Antrim’s Orlaith Prenter and a player-of-the-match performance from midfielder Lara Dahunsi.

Some will feel that perhaps Fermanagh missed their chance the last day having edged into the lead through Eimear Smyth with just over two minutes remaining only for Antrim to rescue the game. Antrim could have been out of sight at half-time but their tally of 11 wides meant only Maria O’Neill’s 18th minute goal separated them at the break.

Antrim haven’t won the West County Hotel Cup in 10 years, while Fermanagh have won it as recently as 2020. They also won it in 2017, in a replay in Clones, against Derry, so interestingly, their two All-Ireland successes have not actually be in Croke Park.

The silverware is of course what is up for grabs today but the bigger prize is the lure of intermediate championship football for next season.

Antrim (v Fermanagh): A McCann; D Coleman, A McFarland, N McIntosh; M Mulholland, S Tennyson, S O’Neill; L Dahunsi, Á Tubridy; C Taggart, C Carey (capt.), M O’Neill; B Devlin, O Prenter, G McLaughlin.  

Fermanagh (v Antrim): R Gleeson; E Keenan, M McGloin (capt.), S McQuade; N McManus, S McCarville, C Bogue; B Bannon, A O’Brien; E Maguire, B Bogue, S Britton; C McElroy, E Smyth, L Grew.  

GAA Football