Limerick bagged what they hope will be the first of two All-Ireland titles at adult level this year when they beat Carlow by 2-8 to 1-6 in the Liberty Insurance junior A final in Moneygall.
The Shannonsiders, who will also be represented in the intermediate final on September 14, opened up in the second half with a couple of goals that ensured they had enough in hand to withstand Carlow’s late rally.
The first half was a very low-scoring affair as both teams struggled with the conditions. Eleanor Treacy opened the scoring from a free for Carlow but Catherine Devhal equalised. Marian Doyle and Lisa Scanlon (45) exchanged points, with the latter score coming after a tremendous save by Mary Coady.
The second quarter looked like being completed without any score as both sides wasted chances and Ciara Quirke had two shots at goal blocked. But a free by Scanlon just before half time left Limerick leading by 0-3 to 0-2 at the break.
Limerick scored the first three points of the second half thanks to Scanlon (two) and Sarah Collins, and when Brid Hannan finished to the Carlow net from close range, Ger Curtin’s girls were flying.
Quirke (free) and Ciara Mullins reduced the margin but another close-range finish, this time from Collins, secured the critical second goal for Limerick.
Marguerite McCarthy was sent off late on for the victors after receiving a second yellow card. Quirke squeezed a shot from a free to the Limerick net and pointed a 45 but it was too little, too late for Carlow.
Last year’s premier junior finalists Laois booked their place in this year’s final and they will play Down at Croke Park on September 14.
David Cuddy’s girls got off to a super start against Dublin when player of the match, Sarah Ann Fitzgerald got a goal in the opening minute. Fitzgerald went on to score a goal and six points in the first half, and added four points in the second, while also setting up a goal.
A very well-taken goal by Roisin Collins just before half time narrowed the gap for Dublin but two points from Fitzgerald gave Laois a 1-7 to 1-5 half-time lead.
The game turned on its head with goals from Niamh Adams and Collins in the first seven minutes of the second half and those scores put Dublin ahead for the first time. They didn’t score again however.
Instead, Niamh Dollard levelled when finishing to the Dublin net from a Fitzgerald and from then on, Laois took control with a string of points to cement their Croke Park date by 3-12 to 3-4.
Down had to work hard to see of Roscommon but a powerful second-half effort saw them through on a 1-11 to 0-7 scoreline.
Roscommon led by two points after 20 minutes but Down finished strongly to lead by 1-7 to 0-7 at half time. They carried that momentum into the second half and managed to keep their opponents scoreless to confirm their place in the final.