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By Daragh Ë Conch·ir

Last year’s beaten finalists Waterford will have the chance to go one better after seeing off a gritty Meath outfit in the Gala All-Ireland premier junior championship semi-final at Dr Cullen Park.

They are sure to encounter a stiff examination from Antrim in the decider though, after the Saffrons edged a thrilling Ulster derby thanks to the hat-trick heroics of Jane Adams at Casement Park.

Meath dictated the opening quarter against the DÚise but a 20th minute goal from Trish Jackman helped the Munster girls settle and though Elizabeth Lynch responded five minutes later, it was Waterford leading at half time by four points, 1-7 to 1-3.

The Royals remained in contention until Karen Kelly goaled in the 46th minute. With the dead-eye shooting of -ine Lyng also yielding nine points, it was Waterford who prevailed 2-14 to 1-9, despite Jane Dalton’s personal tally of five points for Meath.
Antrim emerged with a point to spare from their cracking tie with Down, who would surely have emerged victorious but for the brilliance of Adams.

Goals from Fionnuala Carr and Niamh Mallon gave the Mourne women a deserved 2-5 to 0-7 lead at the break but that advantage no longer existed by the 10th minute of the second half when Adams had bagged two of her goals. She soon had a third and finished with a personal tally of 3-5.

Down kept plugging away with Paula Gribben grabbing a goal but they could not find one last point that would keep their hopes alive.

Meanwhile, the All-Ireland minor A final finished in a draw, with Clare’s 0-11 being matched by Galway’s 1-8.

A dour enough first half ended with the Connacht side leading by 0-4 to 0-3. They might have felt that their lead should have been greater, given that they had shot seven wides but Clare had also spurned three goal-scoring opportunities, Olivia Lane denying SinÚad Tuohy with a brilliant save.

The second half was much more of a spectacle. A brace of Rebecca Hanley points helped Galway establish a three point advantage but with senior star Chloe Morey in fine free-taking form, Clare hit the front.

Hanley goaled seven minutes from time to restore Galway’s advantage but again, Clare fought back and when Morey converted a free on the hour, it looked like the Banner would win their first title at this level.

It wasn’t to be though as Hanley levelled in extra time and the teams will reconvene for battle in a fortnight.

The Gala All-Ireland junior B championship final also ended in a draw, with an even more dramatic conclusion with Mairead McCabe goaling in the dying minutes to save Cavan.

The Breffni girls were leading Monaghan by 0-6 to 0-3 at half time but the Farney contingent upped the tempo considerably and looked set for a famous victory before McCabe struck late on to leave the sides deadlocked at 1-7 apiece.

For all the latest results see

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