Lucia thrilled by Ulster camogie triumph

By Niall Gartland

IT’S been some time in the making, so Antrim skipper Lucia McNaughton was thrilled that they edged their rivals Down in last weekend’s Ulster Senior Championship final.

Lucia was one of the only players on the team who’d already pocketed an Ulster medal (they last won the title in 2016), but they deservedly claimed a 48th title for the county when they overcame Down by 3-12 to 0-14.

It would be exaggerating to say that they’ve lived in the shadows of the Mourne County in recent years (winning last year’s All-Ireland Intermediate title was a superb achievement), but they have suffered some tough defeats at their hands so it was especially sweet to come out on top on Saturday past.

Loughgiel star McNaughton said: “They beat us in the league final and Ulster final last year, and the All-Ireland in the year before that, but we’ve been narrowing the gap and it was really good to produce a good performance as well as getting the win.”

“You could say that they’ve been top of the tree in Ulster, they won the last four titles in-a-row so it’s great to get it back again.”

The star of the show was talented young camog Roisin McCormack, who weighed in with a magnificent 3-5, but McNaughton was eager to point out that it was still very much a team effort from the Saffrons.

“We’ve been working on creating overlaps and getting the delivery of passes into the full-forward line. It’s important to get the good ball but Roisin’s very good at finishing, it’s brilliant to get a hat-trick in an Ulster final.

“It’s something we’ve improved on as a team and on top of that Roisin is a phenomenal player and we’re just glad to have her on our team.”

It also made up for the disappointment of losing the Division Two final to Wexford, and they’ll be hopeful of making a positive impression in the forthcoming All-Ireland Senior Championship.

“The league final didn’t go according to plan,” she said. “But as I’ve said before, sometimes it’s better to get beaten as you reflect on things in greater depth. We’ve taken a good look at things, and while Wexford were just better, we’ve tailored our training as a result of that defeat.

“We’ve played in Croke Park twice in the last year now and it’s been great exposure for us. We’re under no illusions that the senior championship won’t be easy but getting the Ulster final win after the disappointment of the league is perfect preparation for us.”

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