By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Kildare maintained their winning run over Armagh but it took an injury time free from Siobhan Hurley to do so, and in the process, garner the Irish Daily Star Camogie League Division 3 title at Donaghmore Ashbourne on a 1-8 to 0-10 scoreline.
The Lilywhites have made tremendous progress in recent seasons, bagging the Division 4 title before accounting for the Orchard County’s finest in the All-Ireland Junior ‘A’ championship in 2010. They lost the Division 3 final to Meath by the minimum margin last year so their glee was understandable as they were on the right side of that gap this time around.
There were 17 points between the sides when they crossed swords in Culloville two weeks beforehand but there was a real sense of phony war about that tie with their places in the final already decided.
This was never going to be as one-sided and Armagh scored the first three points courtesy of the excellent Bernie Murray, Colette McSorley and Ciara Donnelly. Significantly though, McSorley’s well struck shot from a sixth minute penalty was saved by Brid Byrnes and the Kildare custodian made another tremendous stop before half time.
Kildare gradually settled down though and points from Susie O’Carroll and Hurley pushed them two points clear before Armagh finished strongly to go in level at the break on 0-5 apiece.
Cliodhna McSweeney was introduced at half time by Kildare and within two minutes, she flashed an unstoppable shot to the Armagh net. Hurley added a couple of points but Armagh showed tremendous courage into the wind and McSorley drew the sides level once again with five successful frees and time running out.
Hurley snatched the honours though, the player of the match holding her nerve brilliantly to convert that late opportunity from 45m out to spark huge celebrations.
Camogie within the capital was given a huge boost as Dublin’s second string annexed the Irish Daily Star Camogie League Division 4 title at the end of a very tight and cagey affair, overcoming Carlow by 1-6 to 0-5.
The teams looked nervous in the first half, with Carlow looking the stronger in the opening quarter. Once Dublin settled however, they always had the slight upper hand, with Carlow relying too much on Emma Brennan for their scoring. The centre-back shot all five of her side’s points, three from frees and one from a 45.
To be fair, the Dublin defence was outstanding, with goalkeeper Stephanie Carthy being named player of the match. Certainly, the result might well have been different but for the netminder’s two saves before half time and with her handling and puck-outs also top class, her over all performance was top drawer.
The outstanding Elaine Gallery, Joeleen Hoary and Carol Anne Canning were the point-scorers for Dublin but the deciding score arrived ten minutes into the second half, when substitute Laoise Quinn gathered possession on the edge of the square from a diagonal delivery and shot to the Carlow net.