Antrim heading in the right direction

Louth ladies 1-09-4-11 Antrim ladies

Kevin Herron P.R.O.

Antrim ladies done their promotion chances no harm after a comprehensive defeat of Louth in Drogheda on Sunday afternoon. Sundays game was a repeat of last years All-Ireland junior football final in which Antrim beat the Wee County by 11 points at Croke Park. It might have only been league points up for grab this time around, but there was an element of revenge on the minds of the Louth ladies. Louth went into the game on the back of  two victories in their opening two games over Roscommon  and Carlow, while the visitors went into the encounter with a win from their opening two after defeat to Offaly last time out.



Though Antrim ladies wasted no time in stamping their authority in this game infact there was less than 50 seconds gone when wing corner forward Kirsty McGuinness prevented the ball going out of play at the sideline; and showing no fear McGuinness took off towards goal, before unleashing a wicked shot which deceived the Louth goalkeeper Nicole Sherrin and hit the net to give the Saffrons an early three point lead. It took Louth a couple of minutes to recover from the set-back, but the Leinster side opened their account after a well worked free from Katie Flood released Jenny McGuiness, who was able to fire over the bar to reduce the deficit to two.  On eight minutes it was Jenny McGuiness again who was to prove hard to handle, winning possession on the 21-yard line before firing over to put one between the sides. The sides were level four minutes later; this time it was corner forward Katie Flood who was left in some space, and taking advantage she was able to fire over the bar to make it 0-03-1-00.


Antrim briefly regained their lead with their first score in 14 minutes, a foul on Mariosa McGourty gave Kirsty McGuiness the chance from a free, which she dually converted over. The lead wasn't to last long though as Louth soon hit the front for the first time; Jenny McGuiness who was proving a threat in the opening quarter switched with Gillian McDonnell, and McDonnell struck a low shot which deceived Ciara McCoys low dive and hit the net to give Louth a 1-03-1-01 lead. Again this was only to be a brief lead for the home side; less than a minute later Kirsty McGuiness caught the ball well and turned her marker, before punting the ball goal wards which beat Nicole Sherrin and nestled in the goal to establish Antrim's lead once again 1-03-2-01.


A further point followed from Cathy Carey, before Antrim took firm control of the game. Half forward Clare Timoney won possession well deep inside the Louth half, and with only one thing on her mind she brilliantly shot low past Nicole Sherrin into the net to give Antrim a five point lead 1-03-3-02. Louth struggled to deal with the visitors and before half time Antrim were to rack up a further two points; first Cathy Carey blasted over her second point from play to put six between the sides, before Mariosa McGourty cut inside her marker before turning the ball to over to give the Saffrons a seven point advantage at the interval 1-03-3-04.


Louth made a bright start after the break, and almost pulled a goal back only for a brilliant dive across her goal from Ciara McCoy. The home side did open their second half account after three minutes; a free was worked well between a duo and Jenny McGuinness was there to convert the chance and pop it over the bar to reduce the deficit to six. Although Antrim restored their seven point lead, Mariosa McGourty released Mairead Cooper who turned the ball over the bar. The home side were showing a lot of desire to make inroads; and they were rewarded with three fine points as Antrim lead was shrinking fast. A Jenny McGuinness score was quickly followed by another fro, Kate Flood, and with ten minutes gone in the second half Susan Byrne added a third straight score to four between the sides and give Louth momentum.


Antrim were quiet so far in the second period and it took them until the 11th minute in the second half to work thief second score; it was Mairead Cooper who caught well and fired over the bar to increase Antrim's lead to five. This was followed by a Kirsty McGuinness free, as Antrim were beginning to get on top again. Midway through the second half Antrim restored their seven point advantage, and once again it was Mairead Cooper who was on the end of a fine move to convert the point. Although Antrim were dealt a blow a minute later after Kirsty McGuinness was booked and subsequently sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes. Despite being a player short Antrim increased their lead, Mariosa McGourty worked the ball well with Nicole Rafferty before firing over the top to put eight between the sides 1-07-3-09


With ten minutes to play both sides exchanged scores; first Siobhan McDonald reduced the lead to seven, before Mariosa McGourty added her second straight score to restore the eight point lead. Jenny McGuinness again cut the gap, but Antrim responded with Clare Timoney hitting her second score of the game. Louth's bad luck was summed up in injury time when the referee awarded Antrim a penalty for a foul on Mariosa McGourty, Kirsty McGuinness who was introduced after her brief sin bin took responsibility for the kick and smashed it into the top left hand corner past Nicole Sherrin to wrap up and comprehensive win for Antrim. 1-09-4-11.


Antrim team: Ciara McCoy, Nicole Kelly, Emma Kelly, Sarah Haughey, Meabhdh Laverty, Brona Reily, Aine Tubridy, Gerardine McGinley, Cathy Carey, Mairead Cooper, Clare Timoney, Kirsty McGuinness, Meabh McCurdy, Mariosa McGourty, Niamhin Cooper. Subs: Rebecca Hemsworth, Helen Ward, Abi Carelton, Finolla Rox, Nicole Rafferty, Aine McAtamney, Cuisle Wilson, Aoife McAteer.


Louth team: Nicole Sherrin, Ann-Marie Lynch, Katie Rafferty, Patricia Marminion, Ciara O'Connor, Sandra Lynch, Michelle McMahon, Grace Lynch, Siobhan McDonald, Ebhlin Rice, Susan Byrne, Jenny McGuinness, Kate Flood, Gillian McDonnell, Aine McGee