“”We were shell shocked with the performance. We needed to win, yes, but for whatever reason, the girls turned in a display we are waiting to see all year. If we had lost we were gone. The Down captain came to our dressing room afterwards and admitted they weren’t expecting this at all.””
Down are Division Three league champions so this was a brilliant result for Offaly who are due to meet Leinster neighbours Meath in a mouth-watering penultimate round. Their trip up north was decided at half time when they led 2-12 to 0-3 following a brace of goals from Siobhßn Flannery. In total control they added three more from Michelle Davis, Tina Hannon and sub Aoife Corrigan.
The other semi-final involves Waterford – table toppers in Group One – against Laois who finished second to the Royals in Group Two. The O’Moore side travelled to Loughgiel needing a draw to qualify and they duly obliged, tying with Antrim 2-9 after a tremendously exciting contest. Trish Cuddy and Amy O’Callaghan netted the all-important green flags for the Laois girls.
Waterford strengthened their position for a first All Ireland junior title with an emphatic triumph over a visiting Dublin side to Dunhill (5-11 to 0-4). Of the four teams remaining in the competition the DÚise are the only county to have finished on full points. With the in-form Karen Kelly, -ine Lyng and -ine Breathnach doing the damage amassing 5-5 between them, they will be eyeing a first showdown in Croke Park on September 13.
Elsewhere, the All Ireland minor final on August 9 will be a repeat of last year after Clare turned the tables on Cork and holders Kilkenny, going for a massive four-in-a-row, overcame Tipperary, both games at Kilmallock.
Clare, who did the job minus their coach Davy Fitzgerald, pipped Cork by a single point in a thrilling contest (1-9 to 0-11). This was the third meeting of the teams this year with the plaudits going Leeside on the two previous occasions. The Cats had a more convincing victory over Tipperary, 5-15 to 3-4.
Meanwhile the All Ireland minor B final will be contested by Waterford and Limerick.
MINOR A ALL-IRELAND CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINALS:
Clare 1-9, K Cahill 1-2,S Enright 0-3(2f), N Curry 0-2, R O’Brien,A Hanlon 0-1 each
Cork 0-11,K Mackey 0-5 (0-1f),J White 0-3,, P Buttimer, S O’Neill, M Reidy 0-1 each
Kilkenny 5-15, D Gaule 3-7 (0-4f, 0-1’45), A Murphy 2-3, C Phelan,M Fennelly,S Farrell, A Farrell, K Guggan 0-1each
Tipperary 3-4, C Devane 1-3 (0-3f),B Quinn,G Grace 1-0 each,A Kennedy 0-1
MINOR B ALL-IREALND SEMI-FINALS:
Limerick 3-16, R Carmody 2-0,C Casey 1-1,K Carroll 0-5f,N Carroll 0-4,J Mulcahy,K Campbell 0-2 each, C Scanlon 0-1, N Richardson 0-1f
Wexford 3-9,Linda Bolger 2-5 (0-1f), E Kelly 1-2,Lisa Bolger, A Sheil 0-1 each
GALA JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP, NEW IRELAND CUP
Antrim 2-9, S Graham 1-2 (0-1’45),O Mc Caul 1-2, E Mc Mullan 0-3 (0-1f), A Jackman,G Mc Mullan 0-1 each
Laois 2-9,T Cuddy, A O’Callaghan 1-0 each,L Mahony 0-5 (0-2f, 0-1’45), A Mahony 0-3, S Fitzgerald 0-1
Waterford 5-11, K Kelly 2-3, (0-2f),A Lyng 1-5 (0-3f, 0-1’45), A Breathnach 2-1, N Morrissey, G Keneally 0-1 each
Dublin 0-4, V Reaney 0-2, G Mc Cluskey, M Moynihan 0-1 each.