Having endured the agony of losing last year’s All-Ireland junior A camogie final in a replay, Westmeath enjoyed the ecstasy of making sure at the first attempt against Dublin at Donaghmore Ashbourne this time around.
The Lakesiders used all of their experience to finish strongly and ensure that the Nancy Murray Cup would reside in the midlands for the next 12 months.
The sides were level three times in the second half, the latest in the 25th minute, at 1-8 to 2-5. However, an earlier injury to a Westmeath player resulted in eight minutes of extra time and that was enough for the Maroons to pull away for a 1-14 to 2-6 victory.
Both sides started slowly but it was Dublin that had marginally the better of the first half. Joeleen Hoary bagged a good goal at the end of the opening quarter and that was enough to put them into a 1-3 to 0-4 half time lead.
They got a dream start to the second half when Hoary took a delivery from her captain, Elaine Gallery before hand-passing her second goal.
Significantly, Denise McGrath struck for a brilliant major for Westmeath, with a shot of stunning power from distance.
That brought the sides level but Dublin showed they were still in the game when Hoary found the net for the third time. The score was ruled out for a square ball infringement though.
That was a key period in the game but there was still nothing in it until Westmeath scored three points during injury time from their two most influential operators – player of the match Dinah Loughlin (a free and a 45) and Pam Greville – to give themselves some breathing space at the end.
It was a little easier for Carlow in the All-Ireland junior B decider, as they ended Kerry’s fairytale return to the inter-county scene after an absence of more than 30 years on a 1-11 to 1-3 scoreline.
The versatile Patrice Diggin, who played in an All-Ireland minor final earlier this year, was immense for the Kingdom, hitting all her side’s scores. She hadn’t enough support in an attacking sense, while Carlow had six scorers to ensure that they always held the upper hand.
Marion Doyle was the goal scorer, while Katie O’Byrne slotted six points. Ciara Quirke, Eleanor Tracey and Emma Brennan kept the scoreboard ticking over for Mick Lillis’ charges, who got Carlow’s name inscribed on the Máire Ní Chinnéide Cup for the second time.