Antrim Intermediate Camogie Championship final
Loughgiel Shamrocks 2-11 O'Donovan Rossa 1-8
A STORMING finish saw Loughgiel Shamrocks claim the Antrim Intermediate Camogie title as they denied Rossa at Davitt Park on Saturday.

Just as it seemed the city side was about to push on in the final stretch after drawing level, Loughgiel responded brilliantly to get back ahead and when Charley McCarry blasted to the net in stoppage time, the outcome was settled.

A glance at the final score may suggest this was a comfortable win for PJ O'Mullan's charges and while they never trailed, it was only in those closing minutes that they were able to put daylight between themselves and Rossa who tasted defeat in the final for the second year running.

Still, it was the Shamrocks who were just that bit better on the day and they were led superbly by centre-back Katie McKillop who seemed to be in the right place at the right time consistently and drove over vital score late on.

Her opposite number, Natalie McGuinness was also in one form and it was a bit harsh for the Rossa number six being on the losing side.

However, on the day it was Loughgiel's ability to make to right decisions more often that counted and after absorbing some early pressure, they were first off the mark for that first attack on three minutes was Kirsty McKendry split the posts from out on the left.

Ciara Boyle with the cup

Ciara Boyle with the cup

Rossa got back on terms after Orlagh McCall converted a 45, but while they enjoyed a decent amount of possession, they just couldn't engineer the scores as Loughgiel got back in front when Ciara Connolly emerged from a ruck and got a bit of space to squeeze her shot inside the post.

Connolly then turned provider for Louise McKillop to score just before the water break and her midfield partner Una McNaughton pushed he gap out to three with a shot that dropped over after good work by Meghan McGarry.

Rossa looked a little nervy early on, but things suddenly clicked on 23 minutes as they broke from the back with Carragh Shannon and Natalie McGuinness getting the ball to midfield and a good pass inside saw Sarah Armstrong gamer and pop inside to Riona Matthews who managed to finish to the net despite being surrounded.

However, Loughgiel wasted little time in responding in kind as a teasing pass inside saw Orlagh Laverty gather and spin clear on the right to fire home.

Rossa pushed for scores late in the half but had to be content with a sole point from Mairead Rainey as Loughgiel led 1-4 to 1-2 at the break.

Natalie McGuinness breaks clear

Natalie McGuinness breaks clear

The North Antrim side were able to maintain the gap in the third quarter with Orlagh Laverty pointing on the turn early on and while Orlagh McCall hit back from a free, Ciara Dobbin found Meghan McGarry to put three between the sides once again.

There was just a sense that Rossa were growing into the game as they were enjoying a good spell around the middle and Bronagh Orchin shook off a challenge to score before Natalie McGuinness split the posts after a strong run out of defence.

Kirsty McKendry knocked over a free at the other end to leave two in it at the water break, but Rossa continued to press upon the resumption and after Orlagh McCall landed a free, Bronagh Orchin did likewise from deep and the sides were locked at 1-7 with just eight minutes remaining.

With the questions now being asked of Loughgiel, they were quick to find the answers as they upped it a gear and started to drive at Rossa in waves and from a loose ball, Orlaigh Laverty gathered possession on the right and fired over to put the Shamrocks back ahead.

Rossa just couldn't get back on the attack and much of this was down to the exceptional McKillop whose performance was underlined by an excellent point from deep.

Muirin Quinn can't hide her disappointment

Muirin Quinn can't hide her disappointment

The city side were still very much alive in stoppage time, but then came the coup de grâce as Ciaran Boyle sent a long ball forward and substitute McCarry plucked it from the sky and sent a rocket of a shot to the net.

Kirsty McKendry added a point from a free and while Rossa pushed for a late goal to give themselves a glimmer of hope, Orlagh McCall's rasping shot was tipped over for a point as Loughgiel celebrated victory soon after as they added the Intermediate honours to their Senior title.

LOUGHGIEL: E Boyle; M Henry, C Higgins, F McVeigh; C Boyle, K McKillop (0-1), E McGarry; L McKillop (0-1), U McNaughton (0-1); C Dobbin, M McKillen, O Laverty (1-2); C Connolly (0-1), M McGarry (0-1), K McKendry (0-3, 2 frees).
Subs: C McMullan for L McKillop (44), C McCarry (1-0) for C Connolly (55).

ROSSA: S Erskine; E McGurk, C Shannon, C McMenamin; C McNeice, N McGuinness (0-1), E Matthews; L McMullan, N Killen; O McCall (0-4, 2 frees, 1 45), M Quinn, R Matthews (1-0); S Armstrong, B Orchin (0-1, 1 free), M Rainey (0-1).
Subs: E Byrne for R Matthews (37), C Wylie for S Armstrong (46), L Slane for M Rainey (60+5).

REFEREE: Sean Elliott