Loughgiel win back title after dogged battle with Portglenone

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Antrim Senior Camogie Championship Final

Loughgiel 2-9 Portglenone 0-8

Loughgiel won back the county Camogie title they last held in 2009 at Ballymena on Saturday evening, but they were made to work to the bitter end for their victory as underdogs Portglenone put in a might effort to regain the crown they last wore back in 1992.

In a tough and bruising encounter, played on a soft and sticky pitch, both sides gave 100% in their quest for victory and the large crowd who turned up at Slemish Park certainly got their money’s worth.

In the end Loughgiel’s ability to find the net was to prove the difference as they grabbed goals in each half, and the strength of their panel was another major factor as all their substitutes made a significant impact when introduced in the second-half.

Despite playing against the breeze in the opening half Portglenone held territorial advantage but they squandered a great goal scoring chance early in the game when corner-forward Jane Carey delayed her shot and was pulled down in the “square”. Their star forward Katie McAleese sent the resultant penalty over the bar, and for the remainder of the half they kept in touch with Loughgiel with McAleese keeping her side in contention with some well struck frees.

Just before the break the Shamrocks struck a significant blow when a high ball sent in from the left wing caused confusion in the Portglenone defence and right-half forward Roisin McMullan stabbed it home following a goalmouth scramble to give her team a four point cushion at the interval.

Portglenone cut their arrears to a goal when Katie McAleese pointed a ‘45’ early in the second-half and with the wind behind them they must have fancied their chances of an upset. However that goal margin soon became two when Loughgiel’s star forward Racquel McCarry made a brilliant high catch in a packed goalmouth and turned to angle a drive to the back of the Portglenone net.

Loughgiel were now in control and with Ciara Johnston, Laura Connolly and big sister Emma Connolly forming a rock solid spine in defence Portglenone’s task was significant. They never gave up the fight and the brilliant McAleese kept up her herculean efforts to salvage the game, but Loughgiel had that bit of extra class up front and well taken points from Racquel McCarry, impressive substitutes Cathy and Jolene McCarry and centre-forward Emma McMullan saw them safely home to their sixteen county title.

Scores

Loughgiel - Raquel McCarry 1-3, Roisin McMullan 1-0, Hannah Devlin 0-1, Emma Connolly 0-1, Emma McMullan 0-1, Joanne Campbell 0-1, Cathy McCarry 0-1, Jolene McCarry 0-1.

Portglenone Katie McAleese 0-7, Jane Carey 0-1.

Teams

LOUGHGIEL - C Johnson, A Connolly, L Connolly, U McNaughton, B McKinley, E Connolly, S McCloskey, C Hamill, S Devlin, R McMullan, E McMullan, J Campbell, A McFadden, R McCarry, H Devlin. Subs used C McCarry, J McCarry,

PORTGLENONE - C Doherty, E McKenna, K Convery, E Donaghy, C Hasson, C O’Kane, J Loughlin, S McKeever, B Clarke, N Doherty, K McAleese, M Graham, L McAleese, D Storey, J Carey. Subs used T McAleese, K Duffin, C McGrogan, T Duffin.

Referee E Elliott, All Saints.