Compiled by Daragh Ó Conchúir
The contestants for the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Camogie Final are known after Kerry accounted for Clare and Limerick defeated Roscommon in a double-header at Cusack Park, Ennis.
Kerry are hell bent on going one step further than last year, when they reached the Final for the first time in their history, and maintaining the stunning progression of Camogie in the Kingdom in recent years.
They were far too strong for the Clare second string, laying the platform for their 1-13 to 0-6 triumph in the first half. Patrice Diggin is an elite class operator and she inflicted much of the damage on the Bannerwomen, utilising the strong wind well with the opening six points from frees and from play.
Julianne O’Keeffe added a point before Kerry went 10 clear after 24 minutes, when Diggin launched another free from distance and as the hurleys of backs and forwards moved in direction of the sliotar, it was O’Keeffe who redirected it delightfully over her right shoulder for a brilliant goal.
Sinéad O’Keeffe finally registered Clare’s first score and further points came from Regan Conway and Katie O’Gorman but it was Kerry that were in control at half-time, 1-9 to 0-3.
Having the elements in their favour certainly added to Clare’s competitiveness after the resumption, but while their defence managed to stop the bleeding at their end, conceding only four points, the attack only doubled their tally via a Conway brace and another score from O’Gorman.
Indeed Kerry won the second half as well, Diggin and the outstanding Julianne O’Keeffe raising white flags and they will relish a return to Croke Park on September 8th.
Limerick will be tough opposition though, having enjoyed a good spring where they reached the Division 3 League decider, where they only fell four points short to Intermediate outfit Kildare.
The Shannonsiders flew out of the traps early to go four points clear but Roscommon settled and reduced the margin to the minimum, only for girls in green to hit the last three points and lead at the interval by 0-8 to 0-4.
Rebecca Noonan struck half the leaders’ scores from placed balls, with Michelle Curtin (two), Noelle Curtin and Geri Mai O’Kelly completing the scoring. Shauna Fallon had a brace for the Rossies, while Rachel Fitzmaurice and Lorraine Kelly were also on target.
The Limerick defence was tested more after the resumption but Aoife Tangney and Yvonne Lee were prominent as Roscommon failed to utilise the strong breeze in the opening quarter especially.
They did get within three as Fallon added three points but the Four Roads attackers also shot four crucial wides. An injury-time wonder goal from substitute Shauna D’Arcy removed the doubt however and it was Limerick that advance.