By Daragh Ó Conchúir
DONAGHMORE ASHBOURNE was the site of a constant deluge but it mattered not to the Meath supporters, who are readying themselves for a trip to Croke Park for their first appearance in a Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship Final on September 10.
The Royals last appeared on the famous turf in 2012 when garnering the Premier Junior title but have struggled to make an impact at the next level.
Indeed Kildare, who succeeded them as Premier Junior champions in 2013, found their feet more quickly and were looking to get back to the Intermediate decider having found Waterford too strong two years ago.
For long periods it looked like they would but Meath finished strongly in the final quarter, building up enough of a lead to render Melissa Lyons’ injury-time goal of the consolation variety.
Emer Reilly converted a free almost directly from the throw-in but Kildare were knocked back on their tracks when Meath ventured upfield and got a goal from the next attack courtesy of Kristina Troy.
Points from Ciara Egan and Susie O’Carroll settled Kildare and it was nip and tuck from there until half time.
Louise Keatley, Reilly and O’Carroll were on target for the All Whites but Aoife Minogue was accurate from placed balls while Jane Dolan was a constant handful.
The teams were deadlocked at the break on 0-8 to 1-5 and it was Kildare who made an early dart for the line, two points from O’Carroll giving Dinny Cahill’s outfit the whip hand.
Meath are clearly a confident bunch under the stewardship of long-time manager John Davis though and with Dolan and Minogue among the scorers, they shot seven points on the trot to put the tie to bed.
Lyons gave Kildare the faintest hope with her goal but they needed another and with just seconds remaining, it wasn’t forthcoming.
SCORERS FOR MEATH: A Minogue 0-5(fs); J Dolan 0-3; K Troy 1-1; M Thynne, A Gaffney, C Quinn 0-1 each
SCORERS FOR KILDARE: E Reilly (2fs), S O’Carroll (3fs) 0-4 each; M Lyons 1-0; C Egan, L Keatley 0-1 each
MEATH: E Mangan, E Coffey, C Coffey, E Burke, A Keogh, A Maguire, L Donoghue, C O’Brien, M Thynne, A Gaffney, K Troy, A Minogue, C Quinn, J Dolan, S Hackett. Sub: A Slattery for Hackett (45)
KILDARE: A Hyland, K Perkins, A Conway, M Doyle, D Byrne, A Trant, C Flanagan, E Reilly, L Keatley, C Egan, F Trant, L Sutton, S O’Carroll, M Lyons, E Kielty. Subs: S Hurley for F Trant (37), C Maher for Kielty (54)
REFEREE: L Dempsey (Kilkenny)