The girls from the West ended an eight-year wait for glory as they hung on in a gripping finish to secure a 1-14 to 2-10 victory at Donaghmore Ashbourne, County Meath.
Connacht led by 0-7 to 0-5 at half-time but the game really sprung to life two minutes after the restart when Tipperary’s Geraldine Kinnane goaled to open up a 1-7 to 0-6 lead for Munster.
Midway through the half, the sides were deadlocked as Connacht rallied brilliantly to draw level at 0-10 to 1-7 before the outstanding Jessica Gill found the net from a free with seven minutes of normal time remaining.
Cork’s SÝle Burns netted with a last minute goal for Munster as Connacht were left hanging on for the victory, secured with the aid of superb individual performances from Galway stars Gill and Veronica Curtin.
Munster had fine displays from Tipperary pair Philly Fogarty and Claire Grogan, who exerted a huge influence on the game when she was moved from full forward to a roving commission out around the half forward line.
Munster had booked their place in the final with a nail-biting 3-14 to 2-14 victory against Leinster, who were backboned by Noleen Lambert and Clare O’Connor in the full back line, along with the free-scoring Louise O’Hara and goalscorers Sarah Ryan and Una Lacey.
In the other semi-final, Connacht enjoyed a facile 1-28 to 0-7 victory over Ulster but they were made to fight to the very end in a memorable tit-for-tat final against Munster.
There was some degree of consolation for the Southern province with a comprehensive 3-17 to 0-3 victory against outclassed Ulster in the junior decider.
Waterford star -ine Lyng was voted player of the match after weighing in with an individual haul of 2-7, with 2-5 of that total contributed from play.
Clare’s RoisÝn O’Brien was also in scintillating form as she bagged 1-5, the goal scored in the second half after Lyng’s first half double, in the space of three minutes, helped to open up a 2-6 to 0-3 interval lead.
Ulster had recorded a 2-11 to 1-6 semi-final victory against Connacht while Munster were pushed all the way by Leinster before emerging narrow 4-6 to 1-12 winners.
In the All-Ireland minor A championship last Saturday, Wexford defeated Derry by 4-20 to 1-9 and in the minor B, Waterford ran out 5-10 to 0-5 victors against Armagh while Offaly defeated Down 5-9 to 3-7.
In the U16 A championship, there were victories for Dublin and Cork against Antrim and Clare respectively.
BY JACKIE CAHILL