By Martin Mannering
Lancashire ladies bowed out of this year’s All Ireland Junior Championship after being comprehensively beaten by Antrim at Greenbank Park Liverpool on Sunday. The Glensiders had far too much firepower in a score-fest which yielded a dozen goals and just short of thirty points. No blanket defence here, indeed at times there was no defence at all as forwards feasted on the space allowed.
Lancs got off to the worst possible start, conceding a penalty in the 2nd minute which Claire Timoney drilled to the bottom right hand corner after a foul on Mairead Cooper. Cooper added a point after full forward Eimear Gallagher created the opening.
Aisling McFarland’s fifth minute point was sandwiched between two fine efforts from the home sides Amanda Treanor who led by example in typical fashion. There was a pattern emerging though as Antrim delivered a regular supply of fast direct ball into their full forward Gallagher who was unplayable at times and she had loads of support players to whom she set up with lethal effect.
Eight minutes in she created the space for Aine Devlin to race through and hammer home before notching the first of her own five point tally.
Cliona Gannon gave Lancs a lifeline when she broke through for a goal on the turn of the quarter and substitute Roisin McCaffrey fired over to leave just five between them. The rally was quickly snuffed out though as the winners turned up the heat with the half forward line in particularly devestating form.
First Mairead Cooper netted and Timoney buried her 2nd penalty along with three points to sail clear. Aine Devlin hit her 2nd goal before the break and there seemed no way back for the Lancs ladies. That is exactly how it transpired although having already experienced a heavy defeat to London in the previous round they showed great pride and character in an uphill battle.
They upped their work rate considerably and breached the Antrim defence repeatedly by carrying the ball directly at their opponents. Their problem was at the other end where they just couldn’t cope with the speed and power of the visiting forward division and the scores continued to pile up.
The second scoreline alone read 3-10 to 3-6 in favour of the winners which in itself outlines the strength of the forward sectors and equally the weaknesses of the defensive units.
Antrim will now be the next challenge for London and it could well turn out to be another free scoring encounter based on their respective results against Lancashire.
ANTRIM: Anna McCann,Laura O Neill, Emma Kelly,Stephanie Cochrane, Deirdre O Kane, Nicole Kelly, McCavana (1-0), Aisling McFarland(0-1),Aine Tubridy, Mairead Cooper(3-0),Claire Timoney(2- 7),Cathy Carey(0-1),Eleanor Mallon(0- 1),Eimear Gallagher(0-5), Aine Devlin(2-3) SUBS: Bronagh Devlin for Emma Kelly, Caoimhe Stuart for Mairead Cooper, Chloe Dahunsey for Laura O Neill, Sarah Haughey(0-1) for Stephanie Cochrane
LANCASHIRE: Louise O Neill, Claire Shaw, Kate McMullan, Niamh Cahill, Michaela Cunningham, Maura Melanophy, Amanda Treanor(0-2), Ailish McLoughlin, Jeannette Maguire, Shanaugh Carberry, Cliona Gannon(1- 1), Jennifer Noone (1-0),Lisa McSweeney (0-2), Danielle Farrell(0-3) SUBS: Roisin McCaffrey(2-2) for Clare Shaw, Colleen Gaffney for Jeannette Maguire,Brenda McHugh for Cliona Gannon, Cara Garrity for Aisling McLaughlin