Antrim Senior Camogie Championship – semi-final
Loughgiel 2-8 Rossa 1-10
Loughgiel camogs produced a stunning fightback at Randalstown on Saturday evening to deny county champions Rossa in a thrilling Antrim Senior Camogie semi-final. When Rossa held a six point lead with fifty-two minutes on the clock it appeared they were set for a final meeting with Portglenone, but the Shamrocks staged a remarkable fight-back to close the gap to just two points before sealing the win with an injury time goal from corner-forward Hannah Devlin.
This was the third championship meeting in three years between these two great rivals with Loughgiel coming out on top in the 2009 final at Casement Park while Rossa gained revenge in last year’s semi-final in Glenravel. It had all the signs of being a cracking contest and so it proved as no quarter was asked or given by two highly motivated teams.
After an early exchange of points by Jane Adams (Rossa) and Racquel McCarry (Loughgiel) the Belfast girls gained a firm grip on the game and with Adams leading the line they pulled clear to lead by 0-8 to 0-3 at half-time. The introduction of second-half substitutes Emma McMullan and Joanne Campbell was to have a major bearing on the game and a McMullan point soon after the restart seemed to settle Loughgiel nerves.
However when Rossa grabbed the opening goal of the game in the forty-fifth minute the 2008 All Ireland club champions appeared to be on course for yet another final. Loughgiel had a mountain to climb but boosted by a somewhat fortuitous goal, following a goalmouth scramble in the fiftieth minute, they slowly but surely began to claw their way back.
Racquel McCarry fired over a point from a twenty-metre free to cut the gap back to two by the end of normal time, but as the game went in to injury time it still looked like Rossa would hold on for the win. There was to another twist however and to the delight of the big Loughgiel following corner-forward Hannah Devlin fired in a brilliant goal to seal a win that minutes earlier had looked highly unlikely.
The Shamrocks now face Portglenone in Saturday’s final and with this comeback win behind them they must go in as favourites. If they can win back the title they last held in 2009, and the hurlers get the better of Cushendall in senior hurling decider the following day, it promised to be a big weekend of celebration in Loughgiel.
LOUGHGIEL – Ciara Johnston, Aine Connolly, Laura Connolly, Una McNaughton, Bernie McKinley, Emma Connolly, Siobhan McCloskey, Charlene Hamill, Shauna Devlin, Rosin McMullan, Jolene McCarry, Aisling McFadden, Cathy McCarry, Racquel McCarry, Hannah Devlin. SUBS – Emma McMullan and Joanne Campbell