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Megan McGarry books Antrim’s final place against Armagh after double helping of extra-time



Clare's Sinead O'Keefe with Megan McGarry of Antrim

Clare's Sinead O'Keefe with Megan McGarry of Antrim

©INPHO/Evan Treacy

Clare's Sinead O'Keefe with Megan McGarry of Antrim

Antrim survived a marathon Premier Junior semi-final against Clare in Tullamore to set up an all-Ulster final against Armagh in Croke Park on August 7th.

The Saffrons got a good start with a goal in the seventh minute from Dervla Cosgrove, but Clare drew level before half time and the teams turned around at 1-4 to 0-7.

A further 30 minutes however couldn’t separate them with Claire Kearney pointing in the fourth minute of injury time to force extra time at 1-11 to 0-14.

Both sides exchanged two points each in the first half of extra-time before points from Emma Laverty and Caoimhe McNaughton edged Antrim into a lead. However late points from Grace Carmody and Sarah Loughnane forced further extra time of five minutes each way.

There was just a single score in that period, a monster free from Player of the Match Megan McGarry in the first minute going all the way over for a 1-16 to 0-18 victory.

In the earlier game in the Tullamore semi-final double-header, Armagh struggled with Cavan’s defensive system and when Shanise Fitzsimons shot her second goal in the 45th minute the Breffni Blues led by 2-3 to 0-5.

However Armagh, bidding to reach the final for the third year in a row, equalised with a goal from Jenny Curry and pulled away with an unanswered eight points to win 1-13 to 2-3.

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Derry couldn’t continue Ulster’s run in the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Intermediate championship – but it took a free from Joanne Casey in the fourth minute of injury-time in yesterday’s semi-final to deny them a place in the final, after wins for Down and Antrim over the past two seasons.

Derry’s lack of accuracy in front of the posts cost them just as much as dead-eye Casey who fired over seven frees, five of them during the final quarter. The Ulster side shot five wides in the opening five minutes on their way to accumulating 14 in total.

Nine of the wides came in the first half after which they trailed by 0-6 to 0-4 against a far more economical Cork side.

Derry upped the pace after half time and took the lead for the first time when Áine McAllister slotted her fourth free in the 38th minute. Aoife Shaw kicked to the net in the 48th minute to open a gap in their favour, but Casey frees closed it from then until the end.

Cork will also contest the senior final after beating Waterford by 0-15 to 0-10 with the help of former Down star Sorcha McCartan who pointed three times in setting up a decider against Kilkenny on August 7.

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