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Seamus McKenna at a loss to explain Antrim collapse

All-Ireland ladies JFC final

By Declan Bogue

Published 26/09/2016

Making ground: Mairead Cooper launches an attack for Antrim
Making ground: Mairead Cooper launches an attack for Antrim

Antrim manager Seamus McKenna cut a dejected-looking figure in the otherwise empty press conference room after his side suffered a complete collapse to Longford, having led by nine points after only 24 minutes.

"I just don't know what happened in the second half there," he said, about a Longford scoring blitz that yielded 3-5 in the third quarter to grant them the West County Cup.

"For whatever reason you have to give Longford their dues. They came out and we had said to the girls that they were going to come out and hit us with everything. We had to keep it tight, keep the momentum.

"I can't really explain what happened in that 15 minutes."

As for the concession of two own goals, he wasn't for making excuses.

"They were freak goals. That's football, you make your own luck sometimes. But the way Longford came out for the second half, that's what they did, they created that for themselves," he said.

"We can have no qualms about it, in the second half we were beaten by the better team.

"We are disappointed, there are a lot of devastated young girls in there. But I think we have had a solid enough season for what we have. We will try and rebuild and get back here for next season."

McKenna also revealed one of Antrim's stand-out performers for the last decade is emigrating.

"Clare Timoney is away to Canada now," he said. "She is going to be a massive loss. I think one of the big things today was to do it for Clare, because this possibly is her last day in the county jersey. She has worn the county jersey now for 14 years."

Meanwhile, Cork won their 11th All-Ireland title in the last 12 years with a one point victory over Dublin in the senior final, the scoreline ending up 1-7 to 1-6 in a tense contest.

However, this may run for a while as one of the Dublin attempts for a score was ruled wide, and without the facility for a judgment on Hawkeye (the ladies' ball being smaller and the system not set for it), there could be the possibility of an appeal from the Metropolitans.

Manager Gregory McGonigle, who could have the unenviable record of losing five of the last six finals, refused to rule out an appeal in the aftermath.

In the intermediate final, Kildare scraped through against Clare by the minimum margin, 1-13 to 1-12.

Belfast Telegraph

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