Antrim 1-13 Fermanagh 1-13
Orlaith Prenter came to the aid of Antrim at Croke Park as her dying breath gave the Saffrons a draw against Ulster rivals Fermanagh in the All-Ireland youth football final.
Thanks in no small part to the scoring prowess of Bláithín Bogue (0-7) and Eimear Smyth (1-3) Fermanagh were on the verge of his third title in this class. There was one final thorn in the rear, however, when Prenter’s sixth result of the competition saw the two sides meet again in two weeks’ time.
Fermanagh took an early lead with quick points from Smyth and Aisling O’Brien before unanswered goals from Áine Tubridy, Prenter (two) and Gráinne McLaughlin gave Antrim a two-point lead by the 11th minute.
That cushion remained intact in the first quarter following trades between Bogue and McLaughlin.
While another Bogue point reduced Fermanagh’s deficit to a bare minimum in the 17th minute, Antrim responded immediately with a superb goal from Maria O’Neill.
The standout Bogue kept Erne County firmly in contention with three more points from the game, only for the contributions of Prenter and captain Cathy Carey to propel Antrim toward a 1-7 to 0-7 interval advantage.
It briefly looked like Fermanagh had restored parity just two minutes after the restart, but Bogue’s palm finish after a free Smyth was ruled out for a square ball. And though the Saffrons lost cornerback Niamh McIntosh to the Sinbin prior to that incident, they dug deep into their absence.
Although Fermanagh summoned Smyth, the incomparable Bogue and Sarah Britton, Carey, O’Neill and McLaughlin (for free), they all found the reach for Antrim. Bogue and the impressive Prenter traded points before Fermanagh received a massive disappointment when the attacking O’Neill hit the post in the 45th minute.
James Daly’s side then fell four points behind thanks to a Prenter free-kick, but their challenge was reignited when Smyth converted a penalty cleanly in the 49th minute after Bogue was fouled by Sarah O’Neill.
Fermanagh then equalized through Erin Tierney and while Bogue received a yellow card, a monstrous effort from Smyth seemed to seal Fermanagh’s win.
However, Antrim was unprepared to go down without a fight and Prenter kept his composure to score a last-minute free-kick and force the tie into a replay.
ANTRIM: A McCann; D Coleman, A McFarland, N McIntosh; M Mulholland, S Tennyson, S O’Neill; L Dahunsi, Á Tubridy (0-1); C Taggart, C Carey (0-2), M O’Neill (1-1); B. Devlin, O. Prenter (0-6, four vacant), G. McLaughlin (0-3, one vacant).
Subtitle: O Corr for C Taggart (33 mins), T Mellon for Devlin (34), A Taggart for McLaughlin (40).
FERMANAGH: R Gleeson; E Keenan, M McGloin, S McQuade; N McManus, S McCarville, C Bogue; B Bannon, A O’Brien (0-1); E Maguire, B Bogue (0-7), S Britton (0-1); C McElroy, E Smyth (1-3, 1-0 pen, one free), L Grew.
Subtitle: E Tierney (0-1) for Maguire (19 minutes), E Douglas for McManus (41), Maguire for Grew (55).
Referee: Kevin Corcoran (Mayo).