Congratulations to our Minor Ladies!
14th July 2021
Congratulations to our Minor Ladies on their win tonight over Down!!
Speedy recovery to Ailbhe Kane who was injured in the last moments of the game.
Match Report by Anna Bradley
It was the home side who got off to a stronger start in Wednesday’s Minor Ulster Championship, when Antrim faced Down in Musgrave Park, Belfast. Antrim’s Alisha Frame opened the scoring with a point after thirty seconds, with midfielder Ana Mulholland adding a goal not two minutes later. Down responded with a point from danger-forward, Ellie Carr, but Antrim Captain Theresa Mellon soon sent the ball over the bar to further her team’s lead.
This lead was short lived though as the Mourne girls claimed the next two scores. A shot at goal from Down’s Victoria Scullion rattled the crossbar and bounced over for a point. Eva Slone’s attempt minutes later then made no mistake in finding the back of Antrim’s net. The teams were tied 1:2 each after 10 minutes.
Both teams preferred to run the ball rather than kick it long into their forwards. However, this became more difficult as the game progressed, with both sides congesting their own defences. Nonetheless, Down managed to get through for another shot at goal, which was saved by a great effort from Antrim goalkeeper, Naoise Clarke. A point at the other end of the field soon followed from Antrim’s Mary Mitchell, which was a result of Antrim’s strong running game. However, three consecutive wides from the Saffrons meant that they went into the first water break wielding only a one-point lead.
These untaken chances were punished by Down, who quickly threatened another goal after the break. However, Down’s shot was swept off the line by the impressive Mellon and the home side would not concede another goal for the rest of the game. Erin Sands later pointed a free for Down to bring the sides level once again. Five minutes before half time, Antrim’s Ailbhe Kane replaced Frame as a blood sub and proved an important scorer for her side. Frame returned a minute later to replace Alyssa Davidson in the forward line. Antrim’s influential Duana Coleman then broke a chain of five consecutive wides for her team and a further point from Down meant the sides finished the half with 1:4 apiece.
Holly Bone was a half time substitute for Saoirse McErlain in Antrim’s full back line. When the playing resumed, Kane opened the scoring for Antrim with a well taken free. Down were not to be outdone though as Carr won the Saffron kickout and split the posts after two stray attempts. Things were to get tougher for the reds when Cliona Griffin replaced Frame in Antrim’s forward line. With her hamstring taped and hair tightly braided, Griffin was a handful from the moment she stepped onto the pitch. Her strong, direct running caused havoc, but also went against her as she was shown a yellow card for charging in the 41st minute.
Another pointed free from Kane ended a chain of wides from a wasteful Antrim. This was to be Antrim’s last score before the water break. The Mourne girls fought back and a great work by Sands set Georgia Scullion up for the final point of the quarter. Again the match was levelled at 1:6 apiece.
A great save from the Down keeper, Cara Bradley, opened the final quarter and points were exchanged by Aoibhinn Dougan and Antrim’s Ana Mulholland. Though very strong at running, the Antrim side struggled around Down’s 21-yard line, where a wall of red bodies stood imposing. Even with the return of Griffin to the pitch the Saffrons could not pull ahead. Instead, Down took the lead with a converted free to make it 1:7 to 1:8 with ten minutes to go. This however was to be the last score of the game for the visiting side, while their opponents were just finding their shooting feet.
Griffin found her gear and, despite the wall of red opposing her, found the net after another splitting run. Kane pointed her third free, which was quickly followed two more Antrim points from play. The first long ball of the game was sent into Mulholland, now in full forward, who plucked it well from the air and sent it over the bar for Antrim’s last score from play. In the dying seconds of the game, Kane was storming for goal when she was brought down and won a penalty for Antrim. Despite another brilliant save by Down goalie, Bradley, the penalty was deflected over the bar for the last action of the match. This brought the final score to 2:12 to 1:8, seeing Antrim come out the right side of a good game of football.
Report by Anna Bradley.
💛 #MinorSaffs 🟡