Down camogs are Ulster champions again

Down camogs are Ulster champions again

5 June 2019

DOWN camogs recorded back-to-back Ulster Championship final victories over Antrim at Clones on Sunday afternoon.

Martina Rooney’s side inflicted pain on the Saffrons from start to finish and stirring displays from the Carr sisters, Fionnuala and Sara Louise, Niamh Mallon, Orla Gribben and Paula O’Hagan led the Down girls to a pulsating win against their arch rivals.

Early points from Gribben and Sara Louise Carr had Down up and away and they never relinquished their advantage, going on to lift the Corn Rosina McManus trophy in style. 

Castlewellan’s Sorcha McCartan, fresh from her exploits with the county minors, then pounced with deadly precision to release Mallon for a brilliant goal and give Down a convincing 1-2 to 0-0 lead after only three minutes to enhance their dream start.

Things were to get even better as with six minutes played Sara Louise Carr pointed Down further ahead. Antrim’s expected fightback started immediately with the accurate Katie McAleese keeping her side in contention with five consecutive points, including three from play.

There was only a point in it as the first half drew to a close, but Down broke free from their shackles and Mallon sent her side into the break with a 1-4 to 0-5 lead with a well-taken score.

Antrim reduced the leeway to a single point at the start of the second half with a score from Bronagh Orchin, but a composed Down side replied with a brace from Mallon as the Mourne girls took a 1-6 to 0-6 lead after 38 minutes.

McAleese and Paula O’Hagan swapped points before Down hit the jackpot when Sara Louise Carr found the back of the Antrim net for Down’s second goal and a six point lead with 19 minutes remaining.

Full credit to Antrim, they refused to throw in the towel and three unanswered points from Maeve Kelly and McAleese (0-2) left a puck of the ball between the sides.

It was a hammer and tongs finish with both sides feeling the pressure, but it was Down’s Niamh Mallon who settled the issue with a converted free and give her side a deserved victory.

Down captain Fionnuala Carr was delighted after her side’s victory and it marked a successful season on both the club and county front for her after she also lifted the All-Ireland Intermediate Club Camogie title with Clonduff in March.

“There are a few of us that played for Down for many years and couldn’t win an Ulster senior. It feels so good to get two-in-a-row and going into the All-Ireland in a fortnight’s time, we will appreciate those two hard games,” she said.

“Momentum is everything in sport and we got that at the start. It was a great start, we couldn’t have asked for a better one,” she added.

Down: C McGourty, N Kelly, A Savage, C McGilligan, K McMullan, F Carr, C Rocks, A McAleenan, A Keown, SL Carr (1-2), S McCartan, P O’Hagan (0-1), N Mallon (1-4, 1f), C Caldwell, O Gribben (0-1). Subs: K Tinnelly for Savage, D Harrison for McCartan, K Cunningham for Gribben. 

Antrim: M Coyles, M Lynn, C Conlon, C Drain, E Hynds, N Donnelly, L McKenna, A Boyle, M Kelly (0-1), B Orchin (0-1), K McAleese (0-8, 6f), A Donnelly, L McNaughton, F McVEigh, M Laverty. Subs: R McCormick for McVeigh, V Edgar for Lynn.

Down 2-8

Antrim 0-10