All-Ireland Minor A Final
Cork v Kilkenny
MacDonagh Park, 2.30pm
The mix of red with black and amber has always been a potent one and sparks are sure to fly once more when Cork and Kilkenny cross swords in another All-Ireland final. The counties invariably bring the best out of each other and the prospect of their finest young camogie players battling toe-to-toe in Nenagh is a mouth-watering one. On the evidence of what we have seen to date, there is very little between the two teams.
Kilkenny showed their worth by beating Tipperary by two points in their opening Group 1 encounter but were shocked by Dublin in their second tie and were forced to meet the Metropolitans again in a play-off. Their mettle came to the fore and with Lydia Fitzpatrick contributing six points, they carved out a professional four-point win that set them up for a semi-final against Group 2 table-toppers Galway.
That character was required against the Tribeswomen too, as they fell four points behind after conceding an early goal but had pegged their opponents back to draw level by the break.
They maintained that standard of performance after the restart and with Miriam Walsh, substitute Maria Corcoran, the deadly-accurate Fitzpatrick and inspirational captain Meg Farrell shining, just held off a late Galway charge to win 1-13 to 1-12. That game was played at the same venue as the final and that is sure to be advantageous to the Noresiders. For their part, Cork accounted for Clare and Limerick before losing by two points to Galway in the final Group 2 tie. Both sides had already qualified by that juncture however.
The Rebels had to be very gritty in dispensing with Tipperary in the semi-final by a goal, scored by Rachel Sheehan seven minutes into the second half. Enniskeane teenager, Orla Cronin contributed seven points while the defence was outstanding throughout.A draw certainly wouldn’t be out of the question here and certainly, the margin between victory and defeat is very unlikely to be big.
All-Ireland Minor B final
Offaly v Wexford
Donaghmore Ashbourne, 5.00pm
Wexford have been catching the eye since the commencement of this campaign and were very impressive in dispensing with Group 1 rivals, Down and Antrim to move smoothly into the penultimate round.They advanced to the final just as comfortably, confining Dublin to two points while registering 2-14 themselves in a stunning display.The teams were only separated by four points at half time but the Wexford defence was magnificent in the second half, keeping their opponents scoreless in that term. Nicola Fortune was unerring from placed balls and added a goal, while Victoria Burke’s goal soon after the restart set the Model County minors on their way.
It is notable that Offaly were marginal victors over Dublin in their first Group 2 game and although outscored 12-9, plundered sufficient goals to win by the minimum margin. They had 12 points to spare over Waterford though and thus sealed their semi-final position.There they met Antrim and it was the magnificence of Gráinne Egan, who accumulated an impressive personal haul of 2-7 that saw them prevail by 3-7 to 0-7.
Egan and Mairead Jennings struck for crucial goals in the first half and when Antrim rallied to reduce the margin to two points early in second half, Egan made the difference one more.
The Shinrone starlet hit three steadying points to put some daylight between the teams before plundering her second goal late on.
Wexford will be firm favourites on a strict line of form with Dublin and Antrim but given Offaly’s renowned status as a county that reserves its best for finals and cares little for bookmakers’ odds, no-one will be underestimating them.
Minor B Shield Final
Down v Waterford, Donaghmore Ashbourne, 3.00pm