County Down 9
Scotland’s women recorded an excellent win over County Down’s camogie side in their cross-code challenge last Saturday.
The Scots went on the attack from the beginning but squandered a couple of free hits before Glasgow Mid Argyll’s Katie Drain settled any nerves with a brace of goals in the fourth and fifth minutes. While untidy efforts, the points gave the Scots an advantage which they never relinquished.
Catherine McGourty, who formerly played shinty in Scotland, grabbed the first Irish point with nine minutes played but they would fail to add to their tally in the first half, taking a while to adapt to the compromise rules.
Scotland, meanwhile, exerted strong pressure but resilient County Down defending kept the scoreline static until the ball broke to Lisa Norman-McColl in the box and she rifled Scotland’s third goal into an open net. This gave the visitors nine points on the board and an eight-point advantage going into the interval.
Skye’s Lorna MacRae got the Scots off to a fine start in the second half with a point struck from 40 yards before Coleen Clark gave Down a chink of hope with a goal, beating Scottish keeper Elizabeth MacGregor five minutes into the second half.
In the 41st minute Kirsty Macdonald of Lochaber scored the pick of the Scottish goals, the well-struck shot from the young debutant following some great work amongst the forwards.
County Down replied instantly through Niamh Malin and there was concern for Scotland when defender Janette MacGregor received a blow to the head from a stick after a collision with two players. She played on, however, with only a bump on her brow.
Katy Smith of Aberdour, who combined with Kirsten Munro with tireless energy throughout the match, bagged a point on 48 minutes which seemingly put Scotland out of sight. However, with eight minutes remaining McGourty roused herself and her County team-mates, and with a following wind she drove over four points in four minutes — including a two-pointer struck from the ground — to reduce the deficit to only five points with five minutes remaining.
An Irish goal in these closing minutes would have proved costly but Vicki Henderson and the McCafferty sisters of GMA stood firm in the Scotland defence and the game finished County Down 9, Scotland 14.
National coach Stuart Reid said: “The girls worked their socks off to prepare for this game, and it showed in their performance. They were all a credit to their clubs and to the women’s game and it was brilliant to be involved with such a special group of players.
“Of note to Skye was the excellence of Lorna MacRae in an attacking role, now a crucial player for Scotland hopes, and the cool-headed debut of 16-year-old Caitlin Maclean at the back.”