Hurling & Camogie

Glenravel boss praises his side's handling of conditions in win over An Riocht

AIB Ulster Junior A Camogie Club Championship

TEAM manager Rodney Kerr was talking up the positives after watching his Brídíní Óga charges battle their way through to the Ulster Junior club final after a 2-7 to 0-7 win over Down champions An Ríocht in Kilkeel on Saturday.

“We handled the conditions very well. The overnight rain made the surface of the pitch fairly heavy and that meant that the sliotar died a lot on it,” said the Glenravel boss.

“We would prefer to move it quickly on a surface where it would run faster but at this time of the year you have to expect pitches to be slower and just adapt to it. I think we did that and got into a position to manage the game.

“I know the game probably didn’t look a spectacle or anything like it, but we were after a result and got it.”

The teams turned over at 0-4 each at the break, but a goal two minutes into the second half put the north Antrim team into a lead they never subsequently lost.

“Goals change games. When Molly (Woulahan) got that first goal, I thought we would push on, but An Ríocht didn’t allow us and we had to bide our time until we got the second one about ten minutes from the end. I felt after it that we were safe enough.”

The other semi-final between Granemore (Armagh) and Crosserlough was called off on Friday after Derry champions Glen appealed against their 0-8 to 0-7 quarter-final defeat by the Cavan champions the previous weekend.

That appeal was subsequently thrown out at Sunday evening’s hearing and means that the postponed semi-final goes ahead this weekend which had been the scheduled date for the final. The final is now pushed back to December 3.

Kerr admits to a certain amount of frustration but feels that the delay could benefit them.

“It is frustrating because we have to fly two girls back from university in Newcastle and Liverpool and we have the two McKenna sisters now based in Galway. So there is a lot of things to organise.

“However we have been working away with girls carrying injuries and missing games. We weren’t able to use Sarah Fyfe and Clodagh McPeake on Saturday. Both played for Antrim minors this year and were our top players through the summer. Hopefully they become available again before the final if it is four weeks away.

“Shauna McDonnell played on Saturday for the first time in two years since she did her cruciate and she could benefit from more training. So too Caoimhe Duffin who came on as a sub. She had a baby five or six weeks ago. So another couple of weeks and she might be pushing for a starting jersey.

“I think we have used 24 players so far over the five games and I believe we improve as a group the more games each panel member gets.”

Glenravel has also won the Antrim Intermediate football title, but exited the Ulster title-race with defeat to Steelstown a few weeks ago.

“The girls had a heavy schedule and I don’t think the county boards of either Ladies Football or camogie realise that. There were three weekends out of four in September that there was a championship camogie game on Saturday followed by a championship football game on Sunday and 12 or 13 girls started both games.

“I don’t know how Paul (Mulholland) and the football management team coped with it.

"If camogie had been on the Sunday it would have really annoyed me. Luckily the girls did their talking on the field, but something has to be done in the future that a similar schedule is not given to us or any other club in the county.”