Camogs dominate Derry to lift first Ulster title since 2005

Camogs dominate Derry to lift first Ulster title since 2005

6 June 2018

DOWN camogs were crowned Ulster champions at Páirc Esler on Sunday when they upset the applecart to inflict an unexpected defat on favourites Derry.

Portaferry’s Niamh Mallon was the star of the show, scoring 1-6 to guide Down to their first Ulster title since 2005.

Down opened with points from Aimee McAleenan and Mallon before Derry put a few wayward efforts behind them to shoot four unanswered points before the end of the first quarter, Máiréad McNicholl, Dervla O’Kane, Lauren McKenna and free-taker Gráinne McGoldrick all finding the target.

But Down rallied late in the half with two more points from Mallon, the second a sublime effort, and another from Sarah Louise Carr to go in just two points in arrears, 0-8 to 0-6 with McGoldrick bringing her total to five points.

Down seized control as the half wore on and a point from Orla Gribben, followed by another from substitute Saoirse Sands, with her first possession and then the goal in the 39th minute when Paula O’Hagan’s side-line was grabbed by Sarah Louise Carr, who forced a path past four players to hand-pass a goal.

With Mallon adding a point, Down were 1-9 to 0-8 clear.

Eventually, in the 18th minute, Grainne McGoldrick got Derry going with a free and by the 24th minute the sides were level at 0-12 to 1-9 when Aoife Shaw pointed. 

However, that score was the first of four in 90 seconds. Down fired a long ball into the Derry defence in reply. It was half-cleared and Mallon pounced to rifle to the roof of the net. Gráinne McGoldrick shot a point in reply, but from the poc out, Mallon pointed again. 

Then in injury time she and Sarah Louise Carr fired over insurance points to set off the celebrations.

Down manager Martina Rooney claimed a vote of confidence was all this Down team needed.

“All the girls needed was someone to believe in them. They are very committed to Down camogie and I know that was questioned. Today they have given their answer.

“We had a great run into the final. We beat a good Kildare team in the Division 2 League relegation play-off and then steeped up a gear against Armagh last week in the semi-final,” she said.

“But we still came into the final a little under the radar. We worked really hard for each other. Alannah (Savage) and Nicole Kelly in the full-back line got in all the little hooks and blocks, the unseen work. Fionnuala (Carr) brought the whole team with her and the girls responded, Sarah-Louise, Paula, all of them did what was asked of them and Niamh Mallon was unmarkable,” she added.

“I am obviously delighted for them all. It really, really lifts us ahead of the Intermediate All-Ireland.”

Down play Derry again on June 16 in the opening round of the Intermediate Championship and Rooney expects a backlash.

“You wouldn’t expect anything else from Derry. They are hurting in there and they will come back stronger. That is why we have to step up another gear. But today’s result should give us the impetus for a really good summer.”

Down: M McNally, D Magee, A Savage, N Kelly, C Rocks, F Carr, C McGilligan, C Fitzpatrick, P O’Hagan (0-1) free, A McAleenan (0-1), SL Carr (1-2), D Savage, O Gribben (0-1), N Mallon (1-6), M Higgins (1-0)

Subs: S Sands (0-1) for Higgins, C McCartan for O Gribben, L Wilson for C McGilligan.

Derry: N McQuillan, KM Hegarty, B Ní Chaiside, T Bradley, G McNicholl, A Ní Chaiside, J McGuckin, E Ní Chaiside, L McKenna (0-1), M McNicholl (0-1), A Shaw (0-1), A McAllister, C Glass, G McGoldrick (0-8, 0-6f), D O’Kane (0-2)

Subs: N Boylan for T Bradley), E McGuigan for E Ní Chaiside, A Devlin for C Glass.

Player of the match: Portaferry’s Niamh Mallon.

Down 2-12

Derry 0-13