Derry and Meath have progressed to the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship semi-finals as a result of their quarter-final successes at MW Hire O’Moore Park.
Derry overcame a sluggish start and a tremendously committed Dublin display in the first half to record an ultimately comfortable 1-23 to 1-10 triumph, while Meath were too strong for Kerry, winning by 2-17 to 1-7.
The second-string teams of Cork and Galway were already through to the last four, as a result of topping their groups at the end of the round-robin stages.
Derry were hot favourites to account for Dublin but the Metropolitans’ second team were in no mood to roll over as they began with real urgency. This was illustrated by a fanatical workrate, particularly in their attack, where a number of forced turnovers led to scores for Jimmy Greville’s outfit.
With former senior forwards’ All-Star nominee Siobhán Kehoe influential in the heart of the defence, they galloped to an early lead, three points from Ciara Holland and two from Ellen Dunphy putting them four ahead after just 12 minutes.
A Niamh McQuillan save from Aoife Deegan heralded an improved effort by the Oak Leafers and settling scores from Sinéad McGill and Áine McAllister followed. Approaching the break, they had moved two ahead only for Dublin to hit the last three scores, with a marvellous point from distance by Kehoe to lead 0-9 to 0-8 at half-time.
Player of the match, Mairéad McNicholl equalised from the throw-in and Martin Coulter’s words in the dressing room looked to have an impact as Aoife Shaw and skipper Shannon O’Doherty followed up.
When Shaw capitalised on some outstanding spadework and support play by McAllister to goal, it was looking ominous. Holland did raise a green flag at the other end to give Jimmy Greville’s side some brief hope but that was ruthlessly extinguished, McAllister (who finished with 0-8, three from frees), Shaw (1-4) and McNicholl (0-4) keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
The second quarter-final was nip and tuck early on before Meath -who are more experienced at this level with a number of players that played senior camogie four years ago still in their ranks – gradually pulled clear.
Kerry actually opened the scoring through a Jackie Horgan free and when she split the posts from another placed ball at the end of the opening quarter, it was to bring the teams level for the third time.
The Royals began to establish a foothold in the key positions from this juncture on however, and four points from the ageless Jane Dolan helped them go in at the change of ends leading by 0-9 to 0-3.
They continued to keep the umpires busy and were nine in front at the three-quarter mark but were stunned when Caoimhe Spillane goaled in spectacular style in the 47th minute. Spillane initially did extremely well to win a dirty ball from Sara Murphy’s free first and then sent Amy O’Sullivan away. The half-forward continued her supporting run to take the return before delivering an unstoppable shot from 20m that rattled the Meath net.
Patrice Diggin cleared the black spot from a free wide on the right to make it a five-point game and Ian Brick’s charges were in with a chance but the response was notable, Aoife Minogue scoring two goals and two points in a fantastic late contribution.
The first goal came from an unstoppable shot off her right after picking up possession around 35m out on the left and she drilled another bullet off her left from closer range. With Dolan bringing her tally to eight, it was a cruise to the finish line for Brendan Skehan’s unit.