Waterford IT retained the Ashbourne Cup in the in the most dramatic of circumstances, needing two periods of extra time before finally repelling the persistent challenge of hosts UL on a 3-13 to 2-15 scoreline writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.
It was absolutely devastating for the Limerick college team, who had led for so much of the 90 minutes and WIT relying on the nerveless free-taking of Emma Comerford to earn them those second and third opportunities.
UL also led by three points in the second half of the second period of extra time but WIT dug deep once more, a goal from Denise Gaule drawing them level before Trish Jackman pointed a late free to snatch a sensational victory.
UL played with the wind in the first half and Cáit Devane gave them a dream start with a good goal. Linda Bolger followed up with a couple of points but with Comerford accurate from placed balls, WIT were in touch at the change of ends, trailing by just 1-5 to 0-5.
Shelley Farrell had them level almost straight after the resumption and with the wind at their backs, one suspected that WIT might pull away in the second half.
When Katrina Parrock found the net to put them a goal clear, that scenario certainly seemed likely but UL and in particular, Devane had different ideas. The Tipperary attacker had already added four second-half points when finding the WIT net for the second time.
That put UL a point ahead with time running out but Comerford kept her nerve from a late free to bring the game to extra time, with the sides level at 2-9 apiece.
The Kilkenny sharpshooter had to repeat the trick after Julia White had put UL ahead to end the extra 20 minutes with the teams inseparable on 2-11 each.
That necessitated another extra ten minutes but when Devane put UL three points clear, it looked like they had finally broken the champions’ resistance.
With player of the game, Marie McGrath in inspirational form though, WIT found one last defining surge to deny a valiant UL and get their hands on the famous trophy once more.
DCU beat Mary Immaculate to win the Purcell Cup, 2-11 to 1-9. Mary I actually began well but Orlaith Durkan pounced for a DCU goal. Niamh O’Donoghue responded in kind for Mary I, who led by the minimum at the interval.
The excellent Caitriona Regan struck for the vital goal for DCU though and with Emma Brennan adding a point, the Dublin-based side bagged the silverware, 2-11 to 1-9.
UUJ claimed the Ashbourne Shield, beating UCC 1-13 to 0-13. Theresa McElroy gave them an early goal and with Karen Kielt amongst the points, the Ulster girls led 1-11 to 0-7 at half time. Katrina Mackey led the way as UCC clawed their way back into the game but they ultimately ran out of time.
In the Fr Meachair Cup final, St Pat’s beat Carlow IT 2-5 to 1-3.
*Pictured Katrina Parrock in action in last year's All Ireland Final, helped her side WIT to Ashbourne success at UL on Sunday Feb 18th in a pulsating final