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Antrim revival sees them over the line in Ulster showpiece

Fermanagh 2-09 Antrim 0-18

In the points: Antrim’s Cathy Carey
In the points: Antrim’s Cathy Carey

By Gareth Cauldwell

Antrim produced a superb second half performance as they came from six points behind to secure the Ulster Junior Championship title with victory over Fermanagh in Clones yesterday.

This was the fourth meeting between the sides this season with Fermanagh having won the previous three and they looked to be in control of the game at the break as goals from Eimear Smyth and Joanne Doonan had them five clear at half-time.

However, Antrim powered back into it in the second half with Lara Dahunsi to the fore and having got their noses in front for the first time with four minutes to go, they pushed on to deservedly claim the win.

Fermanagh got off to the best possible start to the game when they had the ball in the back of the Antrim net in the opening seconds.

The Erne side won the throw up and the ball was fed into Lisa Maguire who popped it off to full forward Smyth and she raced in before placing the ball in the corner of the net.

Antrim answered with a point from Cathy Carey but Fermanagh enjoyed the better of things in the opening period as they hit the next three points through Molly McGoin, a Smyth free and Noelle Connolly, to move into a five-point lead.

The sides shared the next four points with Mairead Cooper and Carey landing frees for Antrim and key forwards Smyth and Doonan on target for Fermanagh but the Saffrons were starting to get their tails up and three points in a row from Niamh Enright and Caitlin Taggart (2) had them back to within two points by the 26th minute.

However, their revival was halted in its tracks as Fermanagh replied with a Doonan point before they then swooped for their second goal. Smyth's free kick dropped short but Doonan was the quickest to react as she forced the ball to the net to make it 2-06 to 0-06.

Carey did clip over a free late in the half for Antrim but at half-time it was Fermanagh who held the advantage as they led by five points.

Fermanagh pushed six clear again at the start of the second period with Danielle Maguire slotting over after Smyth had hit the post with a goal attempt.

However, the next period belonged firmly to Antrim as they rallied back into contention as they registered seven of the next eight points to level things up with 14 minutes to go.

Dahunsi, Carey, Orla Corr and Enright were all among the points for Antrim during this spell as they tied things up at 0-14 to 2-08.

Fermanagh landed a much needed point through substitute Blaithin Bogue to edge ahead once more while they then had a great goal chance but Antrim captain, the impressive Saoirse Tennyson made a crucial block from Doonan.

Fermanagh were wasteful in the latter stages of the game and Dahunsi equalised with eight minutes to go before Cooper fired them ahead.

And the Saffrons were to go in and put the game to bed as Carey knocked over two frees to leave them three-point victors at the finish.

Scorers: Fermanagh: E Smyth (1-03, 2f), J Doonan (1-02), M McGloin (0-01), N Connolly (0-01), D Maguire (0-01), B Bogue (0-01)

Antrim: C Carey (0-07, 6f), L Dahunsi (0-04) C Taggart (0-02), M Cooper (0-02, 1f), N Enright (0-02), O Corr (0-01)

Fermanagh: R Gleeson; A Maguire, E Murphy, M Flynn; M McGloin, C Murphy, S McQuaid; R O'Reilly, A Flanagan; J Doonan, N Connolly, D Maguire; L Maguire, E Smyth, A O'Brien

Subs: D McManus for O'Brien, A McGovern for Flynn, B Bogue for L Maguire, A Woods for D Maguire, S Courtney for Connolly

Antrim: A McCann; N Killen, M Hanna, O Corr; K Farren, A McFarland, S Tennyson; E Kelly, L Dahunsi; C Taggart, A Tubridy, S Haughey; M Cooper, N Enright, C Carey

Subs: E Magee for Cooper, Cooper for Taggart

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