Antrim advance but Derry fall to Royals in intermediate quarter-finals
All-Ireland Intermediate Championship quarter-finals: Antrim 4-19 Kerry 1-7; Meath 2-13 Derry 2-11
THE Antrim management could not have asked for more from their team in Saturday’s All-Ireland Intermediate quarter-final in Banagher.
Despite the long journey to Offaly they were quickly out of the blocks and inside the first eight minutes hit the opening six points through Róisín McCormick (0-4), Amy Boyle and Maeve Kelly.
Kerry scored two frees in return but Antrim appeared to be on a mission and pushed on to lead by 0-9 to 0-2 at the first water break with teenager Áine Magill shooting two points.
Caitrin Dobbin and Nicole O’Neill joined the Saffron list of scorers during the second quarter, but Kerry tightened up a lot and seemed to be back in the game when they found the net in the 28th minute through Kate Lynch quickly adding a point from Patrice Diggin.
However Róisín McCormick killed the moment for them by taking a pass from Maeve Kelly to crash home an Antrim goal in first half injury time and the Ulster side turned around with a 1-12 to 1-4 lead.
The first score of the second half in the 36th minute was also a McCormick goal, the Loughgiel player firing a penalty to the net and at that point the result was in the bag.
The teams exchanged two points each before the second water break when Anna Connolly and Ciara Laverty entered the fray to quickly put down a marker for starting jerseys in this weekend’s semi-finals.
Connolly pointed twice during her 15 minutes on the pitch and Laverty added 1-1, her goal in the 51st minute coming just 60 seconds after Caitrin Dobbin had shot Antrim’s third goal.
It was a pretty emphatic scoring performance from the Saffrons with very few wides over the hour. However the gradient on the hill to Croke Park glory now gets a little steeper with just four teams left in the race to succeed Down to the Intermediate title.
Derry failed narrowly to make it an Ulster double in the Intermediate quarter-finals when their fight-back against Meath came up a little short in Inniskeen on Sunday.
Meath's start caught out an Oak Leaf side that had not been behind in any of their group games. The Royals led by 1-6 to 0-2 after 21 minutes, the goal coming from Maire Kirby.
Derry failed to score for almost 15 minutes and were generally dependent on Aine McAllister for scores during that opening half hour.
And it could have been worse had Sinead McGill not blocked Jane Dolan's path to goal early in the game.
McAllister had Derry 0-2 to 0-1 ahead after seven minutes but a physically stronger Meath began to pull clear with Grace Coleman starting a run of scores in the 9th minute, the Kirby goal coming after 12 minutes.
Eventually Aine McAllister from a free pointed to lift the siege and Derry were back in the game by half-time with a goal from Dervla O'Kane. Mairead McNicholl slotted over a point and suddenly Meath's 1-7 to 1-5 interval lead looked manageable.
However, despite Aine McAllister starting the second half with a point, Aoife Minogue sprinted through for a Meath goal and the Royals pulled clear for a second time.
Aoife Shaw goaled in the 36th minute, but two more Meath points from Dolan (free) and Sinead Hackett made it a four-point gap at 2-10 to 2-6.
They were still 2-11 to 2-8 ahead at the second water break and although the Ulster side closed the gap to a point, Meath were able to respond and hold them off to make the last four.