Meath will play Wexford next week with a place in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland intermediate camogie semi-final at stake after a 3-14 to 2-11 victory that ended Galway’s championship aspirations in Loughrea.
The Royals got off to a dream start with a couple of goals from the fabulous Jane Dolan and with Aoife Minogue lethal from placed balls, they led by seven points at the break. It might have been worse but for the accuracy of Rachel Monaghan at the other end.
The margin became eight soon after the resumption but a Cliodhna Walsh goal allied to a couple of more points reduced the margin to three. Minogue made it a five-point game once more as she brought her tally to nine points.
Galway would not lie down though and Niamh Murphy appeared to get the final touch on a Monaghan delivery to put the game back into the melting pot. Meath stretched it to four once more before Monaghan’s penalty was deflected over by Meath goalkeeper, Emily Mangan. From the next attack, Siobhan Skehill made a stunning save but Dolan poked home the rebound to complete her hat-trick.
Cork are guaranteed a semi-final spot after making it three wins from three games in Group 1 by virtue of a 2-17 to 0-11 success in Ballyholland.
Also into the last four are Waterford, whose goalscoring touch accounted for Kilkenny in a neighbourhood battle at Walsh Park. The Cats outscored the hosts by 12 to eight but with Waterford finding the net three times, they prevailed by 3-5 to 0-12. Dawn Power struck for two of the goals, with Lorraine Bray the third.
Kilkenny led for most of the first half until the 25th minute when the industrious Bray, who had just opened her side’s account with a point, latched on to a break from a Trish Jackman delivery and batted the sliotar to the net and giver her side the lead for the first time.
Two minutes later Waterford had another green flag when Power’s shot from distance flew all the way to the net. Beth Carton quickly added a point and Waterford were leading by double scores, 2-2 to 0-4.
Apart from this brief purple patch though, Waterford had been second fiddle for most of the first half and Kilkenny illustrated their danger once more with points from Emma Comerford and Sara Walsh to leave just two between the sides at the break.
The visitors slipped through the gears after the restart and outscored their opponents by five points to one in the third quarter, with Comerford and Kellyann Doyle showing accuracy. That gave the Noresiders a 0-11 to 2-3 with little over 10 minutes remaining.
Waterford needed something special and it was Dawn Power who supplied it, killing the sliotar brilliantly from Aisling Power's perfectly weigted pass with one deft touch and then, on the hop, rifling a low shot to the back of the Kilkenny net.
It was a stunning finish and when Jackman split the posts with a typical score from a mammoth distance, the Déise girls had the momentum. Dawn Power slotted another quick point and despite Comerford's sixth pointed free late on, Waterford had enough in hand to join Kildare in the semi-finals from Group 2.
Meanwhile, in the U16A championship, Tipperary strolled past Wexford by 2-16 to 1-5. In the B grade, Waterford beat Dublin 2-8 to 0-10 and Meath accounted for Limerick 3-19 to 1-3, while in the C championship, Kildare edged out Cavan 2-9 to 2-8 and Westmeath recorded a resounding victory over Wicklow.
Liberty Insurance intermediate championship
WATERFORD 3-5 (D Power 2-1; L Bray 1-2, T Jackman, B Carton, A Power 0-1 each)
KILKENNY 0-12 (E Comerford 0-6(fs); K Doyle 0-3; S Kent (f), S Walsh, L Norris 0-1 each)