Antrim star Magill not phased by two All-Ireland finals in a week
Tesco All-Ireland Minor B Championship
FACING into two All-Ireland finals inside eight days will be a breeze for Antrim's latest teenage camogie star Áine Magill.
Last Saturday evening, she took the All-Ireland Intermediate semi-final by storm, scoring 1-4 and also delivering the pin-point pass for Róisín McCormick to score the opening goal in the fifth minute in Clones.
Just 20 hours later she was back in Saffron wearing number eight for the minor semi-final against Laois in Templeport in Cavan.
This time she delivered 1-3. The goal came at the start of the second half when Antrim were trailing by 0-10 to 2-5 and it kick-started an onslaught on the Laois goals that saw Dunloy club-mate Cassie McArthur netted twice and put the game out of the midlanders' reach with a 3-15 to 2-10 scoreline by the second water-break.
This Sunday the minors will play Offaly in their final and then a week later Áine and the Antrim seniors will play Kilkenny in Croke Park.
“It has been an unreal summer,” claims Magill.
“I didn't join the senior panel until after the National League and got the last 10 minutes or so in the Ulster final against Down. We came back well in that game and only lost by a point in injury-time.”
Magill then rejoined the minor panel the following weekend for their Ulster final against Derry and it turned into a thriller with Antrim eventually winning by 2-12 to 0-17 and the Dunloy teenager scoring 1-7 to pick up Player of the Match.
“I'm not sure whether it was that game, or training, or just the fact that the seniors were short four of the starting team with Covid for the first championship game, but I got my first start in the senior team in Dunloy against Kilkenny and I have been starting every game since.”
Magill hit four points on her full senior debut and has been a fixture in the team since that game in late July accumulating 1-16 in the run of five championship games.
However Galway hadn't planned for her. By half-time last Saturday she had collected 1-3 and the Connacht side had to make changes. Magill though has a slightly different take on the situation.
“Because I haven't played against these teams before, I don't know what kind of marker I will get. So I can't worry about the opposition. I just go for it in the matches.
“But it is incredibly hard work playing senior and especially against Galway. The pace of the game was away above what I would be used to at other levels obviously. But the Antrim team works very hard for each other and you just have to play your part.”
“Galway wouldn't have known me before Saturday. They changed things at half time, but Maeve (Kelly) on the other wing maybe got a bit more space as a result.”
She has fitted almost seamlessly into the Antrim forward line and she puts that down to playing with some of the girls in school teams.
“It hasn't been too hard to fit into the team really. I have played in school on teams with Maeve, Róisín (McCormick) and Anna (Connolly). That is three more of the forward line and you just know what to expect from them. In the first game or two, it just felt like being back on the Cross and Passion school team again.”
She is back with her own age-group for the All-Ireland Minor final against Offaly, who beat Derry fairly comfortably in the opening game in Clones last Saturday.
“I didn't see any of that game at all. I just heard that their centre-forward was excellent. That will be a job for Faye (McIntosh) and the rest of the defence.”
Younger sister Bríd is full-back on the minor team, while Brid's twin Brónach, is in the forward line and opened the scoring in the Laois semi-final.
“The semi-final was very physical and I hear Offaly are something similar. So that Laois game on Sunday should help us prepare.
“With three of us in the minor team, it will be a big day for the family. I'm just looking forward to actually playing in both finals.”