Clare pulled off the first shock of the All-Ireland senior camogie championship in association with RT+ Sport, when recording a well-deserved five-point victory over Tipperary at Clarecastle.
Tipperary had come into the encounter with a 100% record from the opening two rounds, while their hosts had yet to get off the mark.
The Banner girls had given notice of their ability when just failing to see home the hour against Galway last week however, and they made no such mistake on this occasion, finishing strongly to claim a major scalp by 1-11 to 0-9.
Having only lost by three points to Tipperary in last year’s Munster final, and by the same margin in the All-Ireland championship, Clare knew they weren’t far away from downing the Premier and that belief certainly carried them through.
The first half was a dogged affair, Tipperary taking the lead in the first minute for the only time in the game. Clare soon restored parity and that’s how it was at half time, the sides still level at 0-4 apiece.
The wonderful Jill Horan was crucial in keeping Tipperary in touch in the second half as she traded points with Claire McMahon, who finished with eight points to her credit.
Unlike last week though, the Shannonsiders managed to up a gear in the final 10 minutes. They were two points clear when Nora Murphy was introduced in the 27th minute and the super sub made an instant impact, burying the sliotar to the back of the net a minute later after an exchange of passes with Fiona Lafferty to seal the famous victory.
Cork produced possibly the most complete performance of the season so far when blitzing another previously unbeaten outfit in Galway by 2-14 to 0-8. Jennifer O’Leary was outstanding for the Rebels, striking 2-8, 1-4 of which came from play.
Cork led by 0-6 to 0-4 at half time, despite playing into the wind but they cut loose after the resumption, with O’Leary helping herself to 1-5 in the final quarter, as the visitors outscored their beleaguered opponents by 1-7 to 0-1.
O’Leary pounced on a defensive mix-up to find the net in the 39th minute and when her second arrived from a free six minutes time, the result of the tie was confirmed.
Champions Wexford accounted for another 100% record when also having five points in hand (1-14 to 1-9) in their battle with Kilkenny at Wexford Park.
The visitors had a strong wind at their backs and Michelle Quilty and Aoife Neary made good use of it. Crucially though, Wexford goaled in the eighth minute through Evelyn Quigley, after a great run through the middle by the outstanding Kate Kelly, and that had them just two points behind at the interval.
With the elements in their favour, Kelly and Ursula Jacob began to raise the white flags but a Quilty goal five minutes from time reduced the deficit to the minimum.
Wexford showed why they are champions though finishing with five points from Kelly, Jacob (0-7) and Una Leacy to cement the verdict.
Kilkenny gave plenty to an entertaining encounter and Quilty in particular made a worthy contribution, scoring 1-4 but the home side were undoubtedly the stronger unit in the second half.
Offaly held off a strong Dublin effort in the second half to win 2-15 to 0-14. The winners laid the platform for their win in the opening period, with two Arlene Watkins goals helping them establish a 2-12 to 0-6 interval lead.
Watkins bagged her first goal in the 12th minute. The full-forward profited from a good run and pass by Siobhan Flannery before sending a well-placed low shot to the Dublin net for the second, nine minutes later.
Dublin battled hard after the resumption and finished strongly, but were less clinical when it came to finishing. The Metropolitans racked up 11 wides to Offaly’s two. Aileen Murphy also saw a goalbound shot brilliantly saved by Offaly ækeeper, Pamela Nugent.
Alison Maguire did keep the scoreboard ticking over all the same, shooting 0-8 from placed balls but at the other end of the field, Elaine Dermody went one better, scoring 0-9, all bar one of which came from frees.
Meanwhile, in the FÚile finals, Cahir from Tipperary claimed the Division 1 title, defeating St Martin’s of Wexford by 4-10 to 1-7.
St Killian’s from Offaly accounted for Sixmilebridge by 4-4 to 3-4 in the Division 2 decider, while Wicklow representatives Knockananna celebrated a 5-8 to 1-2 win over Liam Mellowes of Galway in Division 3.
The host county did have some success, winning the Division 4 title courtesy of St Colman’s of Gort’s 2-2 to 0-6 defeat of St Joseph’s from Armagh, but Killanena from Clare accounted for Kinvara in the Division 5 final, 10-5 to 1-0.