Orla Cronin snatched a draw for Cork and broke Kilkenny hearts in the All-Ireland Minor A final with a dramatic injury time goal in Nenagh yesterday afternoon.Kilkenny, who were driven on by the excellent Miriam Walsh, thought they had done enough to win the game when they led by three points deep into injury time but in the third minute of added on time, Cronin popped up with her second goal of the game. Cronin’s effort took a deflection on the way to the net, leaving Noelle Murphy with no chance.
Cork and Kilkenny to meet again
The first half was a tight affair with both sides keen not to hand the initative to their opponents. Kilkenny held a slender 0-4 to 0-3 at the break but that opening half hour didn’t hint at the drama that was to come.Cronin’s first goal in the 39th minute moved Cork into a three point lead but Kilkenny hauled themselves back level with points from Walsh, Ciara Holden and Lydia Fitzpatrick. The excitement was building at the game moved into the final seven minutes and after quickfire goals at either end from Linda Collins and Niamh Donnelly there was still no separating the teams.
However, it seemed like Kilkenny had finally pulled away when Holden spilt the posts with a free and Walsh brought here total to five
points with two further scores. Cork didn’t lose heart though and kept plugging away right to the very end and they got their reward with Cronin’s late strike which left the final scoreline at 1-10 to 3-04 and it means that the two sides will have to do it again on May 11th.
Elsewhere, Down had a convincing win 5-07 to 0-4 win over Waterford in the All-Ireland minor B shield final played in Donaghmore Ashbourne. Down never really looked like losing this game and first half goals from Anna Rogan and Niamh Rogers helped them to 2-3 to 0-2 half time lead. Down were also served well in defence by Aislinn McFarland, Jenna Boden and player of the match Dearbhla Magee and despite the best efforts of Lorraine Bray, Roisin Cahillane and Caoimhe McGrath Waterford couldn’t haul themselves back into the game. Further goals from Aoife Keown and a fine individual effort from Brid McGourty pushed Down closer to victory. The icing was put on the Down cake in the closing stages when Magee fed the ball forward to Sophie Clarke whose shot from the 21 metre flew past Jade Fraher and into the net.
In the second game of the double header at Donaghmore Ashbourne, a superb all round team performance from Offaly helped them claim the All Ireland Minor B title in stunning fashion on Saturday evening in Ashbourne with a 6-14 to 1-7 win over a highly fancied Wexford side.Three goals from captain Helen Dolan, two from player of the match Rachel Brennan and one from Christine Cleary after just 15 seconds set Offaly on course for victory.
After Cleary's opening goal, Offaly added another 2-5 before Wexford opened their account midway through the half on their way to building a
3-10 to 0-1 half-time lead. Wexford's top scorer Nicole Fortune slotted over the first two points of the second half but two goals in a minute from Rachel Brennan put the result beyond doubt. To their credit Wexford never gave up adding 1-4 in the final quarter with Fortune finding the net but Offaly matched them score for score to wrap up a 22 point win.
*The All Ireland Minor A Final replay will take place on May 11th. Time & Venue TBC