While this may have seemed to some a dead rubber both counties produced a very entertaining and competitive contest in spite of making numerous changes from their last day out. Tyrone were missing a number of players due to injury and suffered several more over the course of the game. It took a late converted penalty from the boot of Grainne Rafferty to seal the win.
Tyrone’s well organised defence kept the Antrim attack at bay throughout the first half but a sucker punch of a goal from Laura Agnew sent Antrim in two points to the good.
The Red Hands began confidently with points from Emma Loane and Aoibhinn Mc Hugh firing over from long range. Grainne Mc Laughlin pointed from the left and a score on the run from Aine Tubridy tied the game. Sasha Byrne set up Orla Mulgrew for a point but the young Killeeshil player was injured in the act oof scoring.
Tyrone rallied with points from Loane and Maria Canavan putting them three up. With twenty minutes gone Antrim were level again, this time after they opened the Tyrone defence and Mc Laughlin rattled in a goal from close range. Tyrone showed character with three Canavan points before the late Antrim surge that put them at the break. Mc Laughlin hit 0-2 and Bronagh Devlin pulled Antrim to three ahead after the restart. Once again though Tyrone were level within minutes. Aoife Mc Gahan, a half time change, dropped in a free and as the goalkeeper pushed it out Byrne was there to palm home. The Dungannon player added an excellent point with Caitlin Donnelly making a super save at the other end as Laura Agnew cut through for a goal chance.
Antrim got the boost of a goal through Caitlin Taggart and as both sides hit points , Mc Gahan and Byrne for Tyrone, Devlin and Taggart for Antrim before Lara Danhuntsi snatched an effort from twenty metres out and finished up in Donnelly’s net.
Chasing a four point deficit Tyrone dug deep; Mc Hugh landed a neat score, Mc Gahan clipped over a free to narrow the gap to two before Tyrone were awarded a late penalty. On the press down the right Aoife Horisk closed in on goal but in the scramble to clear their lines, Antrim’s Duana Coleman was yellow carded for a footblock and Grainne Rafferty, who had a powerful game, slotted home the resultant penalty.
Horisk tagged on the last score of the game with a serious injury to Antrim’s Aoife Kelly on the stroke of full time seeing the game called with seconds remaining of additional time..
A solid performance from the red hand side, some good passages of play and fine showings from players keen for a final berth. Caitlin Campbell, Caoime Magee, Skipper Mc Hugh, Rafferty, and subs Mc Gahan, Emma Hegarty and Meabh Corrigan were all among players that impressed but manager O’Kane will admit there’s more to do despite the win.
Antrim Scorers: Grainne Mc Laughlin 1-3, Caitlin Taggart 1-1, Lara Danhuntsi 1-0, Laura Agnew 1-0, Bronagh Devlin 0-2, Aine Tubridy 0-1
Tyrone Scorers: Sasha Byrne 1-1, Maria Canavan 0-4, Aoife Mc Gahan 0-4, Grainne Rafferty 1-0, , Aoibhinn Mc Hugh 0-2, Emma Loane 0-2, Aoife Horisk 0-1, Orla Mulgrew 0-1
Antrim: Anna Mc Cann, Duana Coleman, Meave Mulholland, Niamh Mc Intosh, Orla Corr, Aislinn Keenan, Carla Mc Kenna, Rachal Mulholland, Aine Turbridy, Grainne Mc Laughlin, Caitlin Taggart, Laura Agnew, Bronagh Devlin, Aine Devlin, Clare Emerson Subs Niamh Neeson For Mulholland, Aine Mulholland For Emerson, Lara Danhuntsi For Devlin, Theresa Mellon For Agnew
Tyrone: Caitlin Donnelly, Kathy Murphy, Caitlin Campbell, Joanne Barrett, Jayne Lyons, Caoimhe Magee, Mary Treanor, Aimee Daly, Aoibhinn Mc Hugh, Niamh Mc Elduff, Grainne Rafferty, Orla Mulgrew, Maria Canavan, Emma Loane, Sasha Byrne, Subs Aoife Mc Gahan For Mulgrew, Emma Hegarty For Canavan, Meabh Corrigan for Lyons, Aoife Horisk For Murphy.