If yesterday’s semi-final was dramatic, today’s was even more so as Kilkenny needed extra time to see off Tipperary at Carriganore on a 2-13 to 0-15 scoreline to play Galway in the Irish Daily Star Camogie League Division 1 final.
Ann Downey’s charges found another level in the supplementary period and goals from Denise Gaule and Julieann Malone finally saw off Tipperary, although Jenny Grace would have made it very interesting late on had her penalty gone under rather than over the crossbar.
It was one of 11 points in a herculean effort by Grace that mirrored the efforts of her Tipperary teammates, who threw everything at Kilkenny.
Defeat will hurt Tipperary but with this display, have illustrated that there was no fluke to reaching the last four. Given that they lost by 34 points to the same opposition last year, it is clear that they have made giant strides this year.
They led by 0-6 to 0-5 at half time, with the Fryday sisters Ereena and Sarah prominent in deep-lying roles. Ereena swept up plenty of loose ball behind her half-back line, while Sarah hoovered up the breaks around midfield.
With space at a premium, so were scores and it took a pointed 45 by Grace to make it 0-9 apiece at the end of normal time and bring us another 20 minutes of action.
Kilkenny moved Ann Dalton from centre-back to midfield and introduced Sarah Ann Quinlan and both those moves had a significant bearing on the tide turning in the direction of the Leinster outfit.
Gaule, who finished with 1-5, made no mistake for the goal after some good work by Quinlan, to put some daylight between the teams for the first time.
Dalton scored three points in this definitive period and when Malone found the Tipperary net in the second period of extra time, there was no way back for the blue and gold.
The Division 2 final will be contested by Meath and Galway. Jane Dolan was the scoring heroine for the Royals in Clane, shooting 10 points in the 0-14 to 1-9 defeat of Carlow. Eleanor Treacy had a goal and seven points for Carlow but it wasn’t enough.
Rachel Monaghan contributed five points and Amy Caulfield three as Galway pulled off something of a surprise win over Kildare by 0-13 to 1-9 at The Ragg.
Kildare were heavily reliant on Susie O’Carroll, who provided eight points, while Emer O’Reilly did grab a goal and a point. Galway had six individual scorers though that and that was decisive in the end.