GALA All Ireland Premier Junior Championship Replay
As the old saying goes, goals win games, and in this Gala Premier Junior All Ireland Final replay it rang true yet again. Antrim found the net twice in the second half to see off the challenge of Waterford who had come back to force a replay in Croke Park on September 12th.
The Deise were looking good in the first half with the aid of a strong breeze, but after the change of ends it was the Ulster outfit who made better use of the elements with Michaela Convery and Laura Connolly’s goals proving decisive.
In the opening half hour it was Waterford who raced clear with Aine Lyng proving very accurate from placed balls. After Jane Adams opened the scoring Lyng hit her first and had hit four points after 17 minutes.
Adams and Karen Kelly exchanged scores before Waterford put on the power to hit three more points without reply through Lyng, Niamh Rockett and a free from Poc Fada champion Patricia Jackman.
At the break the scoreline read 0-9 to 0-3 in Waterford’s favour and it looked like they were well on their way to making up for last year’s heartbreak. But, Antrim emerged a totally different team for the second half and began to dominate with Rhona Torney imposing herself on midfield matters.
With the wind at their backs Antrim began to find Jane Adams and Racquel McCarry with good ball and they really came to life. Torney and Aine Lyng swapped scores before the first goal of the day. Michaela Convery made a great fetch from a McCarry ball and dispatched it emphatically.
McCarry, now on free duty, converted two in quick succession before Kerrie O Neill made it all square. Another McCarry free saw Antrim in front for the first time since the first minute. The breeze was a major factor as was demonstrated when Patrica Jackman’s free dropped short.
Aine Lyng finally got her side going again having failed to score for over 20 minutes but soon Waterford were dealt a knockout blow as newly-introduced Laura Connolly found the net. Aine Lyng tapped over another free as the game entered injury time, but Shannon Graham had the last say in the scoring stakes.
Waterford will hope it’s third time lucky next year, but luck had little to do with a deserved Antrim win biult on a quality second half showing.
WATERFORD: Ashling O’Brien; Emma Hannon, Shona Curran, Kate Marie Hearn; Pauline Cunningham, Patricia Jackman 0-1 (f), Jenny Simpson; Charlotte Raher, Shauna Kiernan; Nicola Morrissey, Aine Lyng 0-8 (3 45, 3f), Jenny McCarthy; Niamh Rockett 0-2, Ashling Kelly, Karen Kelly 0-1.
Subs: Deidre fahy for Kelly (20mins), Mairead Murphy for Kiernan (38mins), Mary O’Donnell for Fahy (57mins).
ANTRIM: Mairead Graham; Colleen Doherty, Aisling Jackson, Muirinn Quinn; Bronagh Orchin, Ashling McCall, Emma Connolly; Rhona Torney 0-1, Kerrie O’Neill 0-1; Michaela Convery 1-1, Natalie McGuinness, Shannon Graham 0-1; Racquel McCarry 0-4 (3f), Katie McAleese, Jane Adams 0-2 (45, 1 f).
Subs: Charlene Hamill for McAleese (42mins), Bernie McKinley for Doherty (50mins), Laura Connolly 1-0 for McCall (55mins)
REFEREE: Killian Looney (Cork)
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
As it was with their respective teams a number of players performed well in each half, notably Aine Lyng for the Deise with Racquel McCarry making a great final 30 minutes. However, over the contest Rhona Torney was a consistent performer and deservedly picked up the honour. Her workrate was immense and she also chipped in with a point.