Offaly 5-6 Antrim 2-10
Offaly Junior Camogie Team took on Antrim in St Brendan’s Park Birr on Sunday last in a must win game to keep them in contention in the Gala All Ireland Championship and after playing with great determination and never say die attitude came away with a very good victory on a scoreline of Offaly 5-6 Antrim 2-10.
Offaly played against the wind in the first half and it was Antrim who were first to score from a 45m free after a deflection went out off Sheila Sullivan. From the puckout Antrim pointed again after playmaker Jane Adams gathered and sent it between the posts on the 4th minute. Adams pointed a free to make it 3pts before Offaly pointed a free by Michaela Morkan after Arlene Watkins was fouled going through on the 8th minute. Arlene was fouled again but the resulting free was sent wide from Michaela. Siobhan Flannery also shot wide from play after some great work at midfield by captain Marion Crean. On the 13th minute Michelle Davis got a great goal from play after a lovely pass from Fiona Stephens and Linda Sullivan. This lifted Offaly and was just what they needed but Antrim pointed a free by Adams in reply. Shannon Graham then got 3 unanswered points from play after a long stoppage in play due to an injury to an Antrim player. Jane Adams added a point from play. Offaly responded in positive fashion once again and Fiona Stephens got a great point from play after some lovely play by Karen Brady and Sheila Sullivan in defense. Siobhan Flannery got a great goal on 27th minutes when she turned her marker and headed for goal the unstoppable shot hit the net which got great applause from a good crowd in the stand. In the last minute of the first half Emma Carey was struck by the Antrim No 2 Kelly Maybin and was very lucky to only get a yellow card as it was an off the ball incident. The referee played over 5 minutes of injury time and the last action saw Antrim get a lucky goal from a midfield free as Jane Adams dropped in a ball, it deceived the Offaly keeper Audrey Kennedy and this left the halftime score Offaly 2-2 Antrim 2-7.
The second half saw Offaly attack from the start and Michaela Morkan sent in a free that was gathered well by Emma Carey who pointed. Siobhan Flannery was having a fine game in the Offaly forwards and pointed well from Marion Crean’s great pass. Offaly were causing Antrim problems now and when Fiona Stephens was fouled Michaela pointed the resulting free on the 10th minute. Jane Adams pointed a free from half way before Offaly were attacking again and Aoife Kelly sent a great ball across to Emma Carey who gave a lovely handpass to Siobhan Flannery who had only one thing in her sights and sent a great shot to the net. Grace McMullen
This was sweet revenge to the loss in the national league division three final replay back in April and keeps Offaly in the hunt to qualify from the group and they next face Down away on July 27th. Antrim have beaten Down already and with Antrim next to play Clare it is still all to play for.
After this performance, Offaly are up there with the best junior teams in the country and with a little bit of luck can go a long way in this competition.
Team: Audrey Kennedy, Sheila Sullivan, Elaine Dermody, Karen Brady, Aoife Kelly, Michaela Morkan (1-2), Linda Sullivan, Fiona Stephens (0-1), Marion Crean, Lorraine Keena, Michelle Davis (1-0), Arlene Watkins, Siobhan Flannery (2-1), Emma Carey (0-1), Natalie McCabe, Karen Nugent (1-0),Gene Brady (0-1), Claire Nevin, Amy Dooley, Ailsa Hughes, Anne Duignan.