By Daragh Ë Conch·ir
Tipperary came out on top of an absolute thriller to make it third time lucky and annex the All-Ireland U16 æA’ camogie title at the Gaelic Grounds.
The Premier County’s finest had lost the last two All-Irelands at this level, and Kilkenny came out on top when these two teams met in the preliminary round by just a point. On this occasion though, driven on by Ann Eviston, it was Tim Maher’s charges that had the minimum advantage at the final whistle, 2-8 to 0-13.
Kilkenny had a strong wind in their favour in the opening half, at the end of which they led by 0-10 to 0-5. Julie Anne Malone, Michaela Kenneally and the magnificent Miriam Walsh were amongst the scorers for the Black and Amber, while the impressive Tara Kennedy hit three of Tipp’s points.
Walsh was to finish with a personal tally of seven points but that wasn’t enough to swing it her side’s way. Tipp were level by the fifth minute of the second half, helped by a Jenny Grace goal set up brilliantly by the dangerous Cliodhna Ryan.
Mairead Teehan sent a rasping shot to the Kilkenny net in the ninth minute but Kilkenny kept battling on and might have snatched the honours but for a brilliant save by Tipp goalkeeper Sarah Connan.
In the æB’ final, also played at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick æs goal power enabled them to secure a 3-12 to 0-9 victory. Wing-forward Deborah Murphy gave an inspirational performance for the winners, scoring three points and having a hand in many others. Martina McMahon contributed seven points but it was the goals from Aoife Wilson, Caoimhe Costello and Claire Keating that ensure the home side would garner the silverware.
Down came out on top against Carlow in a low-scoring æC’ decider at Donoughmore-Ashbourne, winning by 1-3 to 1-2. Catherine Rocks was the driving force for the Mourne girls and with Niamh Hazzard making some good saves, it was the Ulster side that was celebrating at the final whistle.