By Daragh Ë Conch·ir
A blistering start laid the foundation for Galway as they overcame Clare to win the All-Ireland minor A camogie title by 2-12 to 2-8 at Semple Stadium.
Johnny Kane’s side raced into a 1-8 to 0-1 lead despite the excellent efforts of Mßire McGrath in the Clare defence. Rebecca Hanley scored four points and Ailish O’Reilly slammed home a brilliant goal but Clare gradually settled into proceedings and three frees from Chloe Morey left them trailing by seven points at half time.
The Banner girls were given an ideal tonic when Rachel O’Halloran pulled first time to goal three minutes into the second half, after Ailish Considine had kept Morey’s free in play.
They wasted a number of scoring opportunities after that though and when Maria Breheny finished to the Clare net from close range, Galway had enough breathing space to cope with conceding a late goal to Susan Fahy.
Meanwhile, Offaly booked their place in a third successive All-Ireland with a hard-fought victory over Derry in the Gala All-Ireland intermediate semi-final at Clones. They will play Wexford in three weeks, who just edged past Limerick in Ardfinnan.
Last year’s junior champions were in fine fettle in the first half and Siobhan Flannery’s goal gave them a 1-6 to 0-3 lead at the change of ends.
Joachim Kelly’s side managed to maintain that advantage for most of the second half, despite the efforts of Karen Kielt – sister of Derry senior footballer James – who slotted 0-4 from frees.
Katie McCauley halved the deficit with a goal at the three-quarter mark but Elaine Dermody responded in kind and also had a penalty saved.
Derry kept plugging away, with young half-back Meabh McGoldrick hitting a brace of points. With the margin down to two, Katie McCauley got on the end of a long delivery late on but her shot was saved by Audrey Kennedy and Offaly held on to win 2-12 to 1-13.
A goal in the very first minute by the outstanding Ciara O’Connor proved the difference as Wexford kept their double dreams alive to win by 1-9 to 0-10. Limerick hit back well with four unanswered points but Wexford did exactly the same to lead by 1-4 to 0-4 at half time.
With Eileen O’Brien Costello adding three points to her first half tally of three, the Shannonsiders were level as they game went into injury time but a free from O’Connor – bringing her personal tally to 1-5 – and a wonderful point on the run from half-way by centre back Louise Codd snatched the honours for Wexford.
Monaghan came out on top in the Gala All-Ireland junior b final replay, prevailing by 0-12 to 1-8 against Ulster rivals Cavan.
There was never much between the teams and the Farney women led by the minimum at half time 0-7 to 1-3, R¾isÝn O’Keeffe grabbing the Cavan goal. Eileen McIlroy was in splendid shooting form though finishing with seven points and it was her accuracy that kept Monaghan’s noses in front at the final whistle.
For all the latest results see www.sportsmanager.ie/cake/camogie/Ireland/latestResults.