By Daragh Ë Conch·ir
An injury time free by Jane Dolan snatched the silverware for Meath at the end of a titanic Irish Daily Star League Division 3 final at Donaghmore/Ashbourne.
The Soaring Star recipient contributed 2-5 of the winners’ overall tally, with her first goal coming after just two minutes with a shot from close range.
Kildare have a good record in finals in recent years though and kept their composure to draw level seven minutes later courtesy of two pointed frees from Susie O’Carroll and a fine score by Fiona Trant.
Dolan notched up her second goal with a stunning ground stroke in the 14th minute to put Meath in front again and added another free but Kildare’s hopes were revived with a 25th minute goal from a Carol Nolan free from distance..
Kildare goalie BrÝd Byrnes made a brilliant save from Aoife Maguire immediately afterwards, when Dolan had attracted four defenders, but the latter did raise a white flag from a free. She then drew the cover again to set up Lizzie Oaks, who showed blistering pace before pointing.
Kildare finished well with two more pointed frees from O’Carroll, the first from 65m again, and Meath had just the minimum lead at half time, 2-4 to 1-6.
The third quarter was played at a hectic pace and Kildare got the dream start renowned goal-getter R¾isÝn O’Connell pounced on a loose ball to find the net.
Meath’s response was swift and Maguire had two points in a minute – the first a magnificent score – to restore parity.
Undeterred, last year’s All-Ireland junior A champions found another gear, with O’Carroll lofting over three points in succession, the first two from play.
SinÚad Hackett and Clodagh Flanagan swapped points once more and the margin remained the same for a period, as both teams missed chances.
Then came the undoubted turning point, when Oaks’ well-struck sideline flew all the way to the net in the 53rd minute to restore parity.
Dolan quickly added a point from a free but Hurley equalised once more with a strong score. It looked like the tie was destined for a replay until almost the final attack of the game, when Dolan was presented with a simple opportunity in front of the goals and made no mistake to secure a famous win.
Meath: E Mangan; N Guy, .A Thompson, L Maguire; A Keogh, K Troy, L Donoghue; E Guy, F O’Neill; J Dolan 2-5(0-5fs), A Maguire 0-2, S Hackett 0-1; L Oaks 1-1 (1-0 sideline), K Hackett. Subs: K Mullen for McNally (43); S Horan for K Hackett (45)
Kildare: B Byrnes; H Mulligan, R Gorman, N Concannon; G O’Hurley, A Lyons, A Trant; C Flanagan 0-1, C Nolan 1-0(f); F Trant 0-1, S Hurley 0-1, L Walsh; R O’Connell 1-0, S O’Carroll 0-7(5fs), C McSweeney 0-1. Subs: O Mullally for Concannon blood (12-14); M Murtagh for Walsh (45); C Farrell for McSweeney (57)
Referee: M McToal (Derry)