All-Ireland Minor championship V Westmeath
All-Ireland Minor championship
Westmeath 2-10 Antrim 3-11
Five minutes into this minor championship tie in St Loman’s Mullingar on Saturday, things were beginning to look bleak for Antrim.
Ciara O’Looney had pointed a long range free within 20 seconds of the throw-in before Aoife Doherty flashed over two excellent points from the right wing, with O’Looney firing over her second long-range free.
The Saffron defence was under a lot of pressure and the sliotar simply was not sticking in their half-forward line.
However that defence dug in and held strong over the next 10 minutes so that the attack eventually got going and drew level on 15 minutes with two points from Áine Devlin and one each for Caoimhe Wright and Meadhbh McCormick.
As play swung from end to end, O’Looney put Westmeath ahead once more with 60m free and Bronagh Devlin and Sian McNeill stopped certain goals after Hannah Core and Aoife Doherty had cut inside for a clear sight of goal.
Siobhan McKillop lifted the siege by placing Áine Devlin for her third point and although Shiela McGrath quickly pointed a free in response, Antrim finished the half strongly with two more Devlin points, one from a 45, and another from Caoimhe Wright to finish a fortunate 0-8 to 0-6 to the good at the break.
Loughgiel’s Charley McCarry came in for the second half and she was quickly on to the score-board with a point following the opening score from Emily Falloon.
However the home side responded well; O’Looney pointed a free and then in the 38th minute Hannah Core cut through the centre at pace to shoot to the net. Shiela McGrath followed up with a point and Westmeath were back into the lead.
It didn’t last long however; a good move up the Antrim left wing saw Charley McCarry through with a goal chance, but, with the goalie beaten, her effort came off the butt of the upright. However it wasn’t properly cleared and it worked over to Siobhan McKillop who took on the full-back line and hand-passed to the net.
A few minutes later Charley McCarry added a good point from an acute angle, but the Antrim defence were made to work hard as play swung from end to end.
Sub Anna Connolly’s first touch was a golden one, setting up Emily Falloon to break the tackle and find the net for a second goal.
Four minutes later however the game was back in the melting pot with Ciara O’Looney striking a 20m free sweetly to the roof of the net. However at the other end a neat passing movement sent Áine Devlin clear and she made no mistake with a hand-passed goal from close range.
Although Westmeath hit back with two points, Charley McCarry popped over an injury-time free for the insurance score.
This was a difficult game for Antrim, but they came through it because the full-back line and Caitriona Graham in goals held firm for so long until the rest of the team got going and eventually put Westmeath to the sword.
Antrim’s next game is a home one with Meath, who comfortably defeated Down on Saturday. Both teams are already through to the semi-finals next month, but both will want to put down a marker in case they meet up again in the final.
Antrim : Caitriona Graham capt., Sian McNeill, Bronagh Devlin, Finvola McVeigh, Catherine McShane, Cliodhna Donnelly, Ellen Hynds, Amy Boyle, Caoimhe McNeice, Áine Devlin 1-5, 0-2 frees, Siobhan McKillop 1-0, Emily Falloon 1-0, Caoimhe Wright 0-2, Méadhbh McCormick 0-1, Áine Donnelly.
Subs : Charley McCarry 0-3, 0-1 free, for Á Donnelly (ht), Anna Connolly for C McNeice (46), Méabh O’Neill for F McVeigh (46).
Westmeath : Edel Conaty, SHaunagh Maher, Megan Carroll, Olivia Glynn, Aoife O’Malley, Rebecca Croach, Ellen Cronin, Ciara O’Looney 1-4 frees, Jade McKeogh 0-1, Aoife Doherty 0-2, Shiela McGrath 0-1 free, Hannah Core 1-0, Ava Balfe, Jane Nangle, Katie Coleman.
Sub : Méabh Scally 0-1 for K Coleman (ht).