Antrim Minors v Cavan @ Coláiste Feirste, Belfast – Sunday March 11th
Report by Philip Doyle
How a few weeks changes everything!
Having fought the good fight in friendlies against Derry, Louth and Meath, the first ball kicked in anger by our county Minors came last Sunday as they squared up against a Cavan team crammed with talent and featuring many of last year’s U16 squad who saw us off in the U16A final last year. Sadly, the momentum that was gathered in the run in to this first Championship encounter hit a brick wall as the Saffs struggled to get anything from the game and were handed a harsh lesson from the Breffni girls who dominated across all areas of the park and used their pace and finishing to punish Antrim.
Torrential rain meant that the artificial surface was like a skating rink where both players and ball skidded recklessly throughout the match but the assured handling and confident and direct play from Cavan were largely unaffected as they moved through the gears.
Antrim’s four county Senior squad members returned to the fold, but even with the boost they provided there was no doubt that this match against Cavan was going to be the toughest one Antrim would face. Although the result seemed beyond the Saffrons by half time, there were some bright moments from our St Brigid’s girls. Maeve Blaney’s running on and off the ball was excellent and when Eimear Matthews and Catriona McBurney appeared, they were tenacious and effective in linking some good passages of play together but inevitably the team were always on the back foot.
Given the quality of the Cavan squad and the ruthless way in which they swept Antrim aside, the smart money might be on them to go all they way again this year. This group of Antrim girls however have shown over the last few years that they will not lie down for anyone and with the next game away to Tyrone being a crucial one, the hope for a swift return to winning ways and a resurfacing of the determination that is at this squad’s heart should make for an interesting game on March 24th.
All six St Brigid’s girls made appearances in the game and like the entire squad, never lacked in their commitment but unfortunately for them, this was never going to be the Saffs day!
Final score: Antrim 0-4 v 10-10 Cavan.