By Jackie Cahill
Kilkenny collected a third successive All-Ireland minor A camogie championship with a comfortable 3-15 to 1-7 victory against Clare in Sunday’s final, played at Geraldine Park in Athy.
The Cats were well in control at half-time, leading by 1-8 to 0-3, and although Clare hit back with an early second half goal, Kilkenny showed all of their experience and class to run out convincing winners against a gallant Banner County.
This was an excellent all-round Kilkenny performance and the winning margin could have been greater but for an inspired performance from Clare goalkeeper Susan Vaughan, who made four stunning point blank saves during the game.
However, Kilkenny struck for their opening goal from Michelle Farrell after just seven minutes and aided by four first half points from the impressive Ruth Bergin, the champions were eight clear at the break.
After half-time, Shauna Enright found the net for Clare from a free but hopes of a Banner revival were quashed when Claire Phelan hit back with a Kilkenny goal.
The black and amber notched 1-3 in the last five minutes of the contest, the goal coming from Michelle Quilty, as Edwina Keane excelled at centre half back for the winners.
Clare, who had fine displays from goalkeeper Vaughan, Kate Lynch and Rosengrave when she got on the ball, will now look to regroup for the Gala junior final showdown with Offaly in a fortnight.
Clare’s minor team joint-manager Davy Fitzgerald will also hope for better luck next Sunday when he takes charge of Waterford in the All-Ireland SH final against Kilkenny.
Meanwhile, Offaly collected a very first All-Ireland minor camogie crown with a 4-13 to 2-7 success in the B final against Waterford.
The Faithful County led by 2-4 to 1-5 at half-time and turned on the style in the second half, outscoring the DÚise 2-9 to 1-2.
Offaly opened the match with a goal in the very first minute from Kerry McLeish but Waterford responded in kind with Patricia Jackman on target after eight minutes.
Two-goal heroine Shauna Flynn netted Offaly’s second goal after 17 minutes and it was one-way traffic for much of the second half as Waterford went 16 minutes without a score following the restart.
Gene Brady netted Offaly’s third goal with ten minutes remaining and although Sarah Fenton hit back with a late strike for Waterford, Offaly netted again with Shauna Flynn on target again deep in stoppage time.
Joint-captains Michaela Morkam and Alison Dooley lifted the trophy as Siobhßn Flannery collected the player of the match award.
Six of the Offaly panel will line out against Clare in the junior decider in two weeks’ time, with the Banner County set to be backboned by seven of their minor squad.
Elsewhere, last year’s beaten finalists Meath are celebrating a very first All-Ireland camogie title after securing a 0-10 to 1-6 victory over Roscommon in the Gala junior (Nancy Murray Cup) decider in Drumlane, Cavan, on Sunday.
The league winners trailed by 1-3 to 0-5 at half-time but inspired by top scorer Jane Dolan, they came strong in the second period to edge home by just a single point.
Fiona Connell scored Roscommon’s first half goal but Dolan hit four points over the hour, with SinÚad Hackett and Elizabeth Lynch on target with a brace apiece.
In other news, hosts Tyrone emerged victorious from a junior blitz which took place on Saturday.
The Red Hands defeated Wicklow in the final of a competition which also featured Cavan and Monaghan.