A 52nd minute goal from Ciara Phelan secured Kilkenny’s sixth title in 10 seasons of the All-Ireland minor camogie championship, continuing their dominance of the A grade by accounting for Tipperary at St Brendan’s Park Birr by 3-9 to 1-12.
This was a pulsating encounter, with Tipperary producing a wonderful second-half comeback that saw them draw level as the game entered its conclusion, having been eight points behind just before the interval.
And even when Phelan struck with a devastating blow, they still came fighting back but second-half sub, Grace O’Brien’s shot was deflected out for a 45 at the death. That gave Tipp one last opportunity but as the sliotar landed in the Kilkenny square, their defenders held firm to clear their lines and the danger was averted.
Kilkenny settled the quickest with three points in the first seven minutes. Sarah Kent converted a 45 and a free, book-ending a Sarah Walsh point that might well have been a goal as her rising shot just cleared the crossbar.
Niamh Treacy, who finished with seven points, responded with a pair for Tipperary but they were rocked back on their heels by two goals in the space of two minutes at the end of the opening quarter. The first came from Jenny Clifford, who took a pass from Walsh and shook the rigging. She then returned the favour to Walsh, who made no mistake either.
A brilliant point from influential midfieler, Kellyann Doyle, followed by scores from Phelan and Clifford opened up an eight-point lead but critically, Tipperary shot three of the last four points, including another Treacy brace, to keep themselves in touch, trailing by 2-7 to 0-7 at half time.
The Munster girls were a very different proposition after the resumption though and a scoring spree that yielded 1-3 without reply brought them level. The goal came from the excellent Orla O’Dwyer and with Ciardha Maher and Róisín Howard adding points, it was 2-9 to 1-12 entering the final quarter.
The exchanges were frantic in that decisive period and it was Phelan who held her nerve, having been placed by the fabulous Clifford, to make it another famous day for the Noresiders.
Meath won the B final, overcoming the Derry challenge by 4-6 to 2-10 in Inniskeen. Derry looked bound for glory when Eimear McGuigan’s high ball found its way to the Meath net in the first half and when the magnificent Aoife Shaw added three points they were seven clear.
That was a good response in itself from the Oak Leafers as it was Meath who came out firing, with an early goal from Niam McLoughlin putting them four points ahead. A Shaw goal and some excellent saves by Erin Burns earned Derry a foothold before they drew ahead.
Meath captain and player of the match, Aoife Minogue found the net at the other end though to give her side hope and the margin was down to three when Niamh Gallogly pounced for her second goal to achieve parity for the Royals. Minogue gave them the lead and Amy Gaffney followed up to give Meath the edge.
Aisling Burke was the hero for the seniors last week with an extra-time goal to qualify the midlanders for the Irish Daily Star Division 2 League final and she did the business once more as Laois minors defeated Antrim by 0-13 to 0-7 in the B shield decider. The skipper scored six points, while Niamh Enright was the primary contributor for Antrim with four.
Cavan claimed the honours over Monaghan in the C shield final, by virtue of a 2-6 to 0-4 scoreline.