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Galway came out on top of a hard-fought encounter with Waterford to win the All-Ireland intermediate camogie semi-final by 1-14 to 0-13.

Derry await in the decider and the westerners will take heart from the steely determination they showed to see off a stubborn Waterford challenge.

Dee Burke, the excellent Emma Kilkelly and Rachel Monaghan were amongst the scorers as Galway streaked into a four-point lead after 19 minutes, with Trish Jackman and Niamh Rockett responding for Waterford.

Jackman was operating in the unusual position of full-forward and had quite an impact, finishing with nine points (three from play).

Three of those scores came in the final ten minutes of the opening half, and with Rockett and Ruth Geoghegan also on the mark, they were in command.

Their momentum was halted just before half time by a fortuitous goal from Kilkelly though and that was absolutely critical. Galway went in at half time leading by 1-6 to 0-7 and never ceded the advantage again.

They stretched their lead to five points within ten minutes of the restart but Waterford showed plenty of character to bring it back to two points, with Jackman raising four white flags.

Nicola Morrissey might have put them in front but her low shot was saved by Róisín Callanan and responded very impressively to that scare, with three late scores from Rebecca Hennelly, Kilkelly and Sinéad Keane to cement their spot at Croke Park on August 16.

Galway had a number of impressive performers in Paula Kenny, Clodagh McGrath, Keane, Aoife Lynskey and Orla Curtin but Kilkelly was the undoubted star of the show.

Jackman led the Waterford resistance, while Ruth Geoghegan, Jenny Simpson and Mairéad Murphy were others to figure prominently.

Meath will play Down in the premier junior final after the Royals eased to a 0-14 to 0-5 victory over Kildare, while the Mourne girls edged out Laois 2-8 to 2-5.

Whereas Kildare were totally reliant on Susie O’Carroll for scores, Meath had a much wider spread, with seven players getting on the mark.

Jane Dolan and Aoife Maguire shared eight points between them, with three of Maguire’s scores coming from play in a tremendous performance. Sinéad Hackett, Aileen Donnelly and Edel Guy were others to register important scores as Meath kept Kildare at bay with relative ease.

The other semi-final was a much tighter affair. Goals from Laura Maher and Eimear Delaney, allied with points from captain Louise Mahony and Elaine Mahony ensured that Laois were in this game right up to the final whistle.

Down have had a memorable season to date though and Portaferry sharpshooter Niamh Mallon pounced for a brace of goals, while adding a point from play.

Fionnuala Carr lofted over four points and with Sara Louise Carr, Laura Hughes and centre-back Lisa McCrickard also raising white flags, it was Alistair McGilligan’s team that advanced.

Meanwhile, there were All-Ireland U16 championship wins for Offaly in the B final, and Westmeath in the C decider. Offaly defeated Derry in a high-scoring encounter 5-10 to 2-6, while Westmeath held off Armagh 1-10 to 2-4.

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