Kildare maintained their winning run over Armagh but it took an injury time free from Siobhan Hurley to do so and claim Irish Daily Star Camogie League Division 3 title at Donaghmore Ashbourne on a 1-8 to 0-10 scoreline.
The Lilywhites have made tremendous progress in recent seasons, bagging the Division 4 title before accounting for the Orchard County’s finest in the All-Ireland junior ‘A’ championship in 2010.
They lost the Division 3 final to Meath by the minimum margin last year so their glee was understandable as they were on the right side of that gap this time around.
There were 17 points between the sides when they crossed swords in Culloville two weeks beforehand but there was a real sense of phony war about that tie with their places in the final already decided.
This was never going to be as one-sided and Armagh scored the first three points courtesy of the excellent Bernie Murray, Colette McSorley and Ciara Donnelly. Significantly though, McSorley’s well struck shot from a sixth minute penalty was saved by Brid Byrnes and the Kildare custodian made another tremendous stop before half time.
Kildare gradually settled down though and points from Susie O’Carroll and Hurley pushed them two clear before Armagh finished strongly to go in level at the break on 0-5 apiece.
Cliodhna McSweeney was introduced at half time by Kildare and within two minutes she flashed an unstoppable shot to the Armagh net. Hurley added a couple of points but Armagh showed tremendous courage into the wind and McSorley drew the sides level once again with five successful frees and time running out.
Hurley snatched the honours though, the player of the match holding her nerve brilliantly to convert that late opportunity from 45m out to spark huge celebrations.
Camogie within the capital was given a huge boost as Dublin’s second string took the Irish Daily Star Camogie League Division 4 title at the end of a very tight and cagey affair, overcoming Carlow by 1-6 to 0-5.
The teams looked nervous in the first half, with Carlow looking the stronger in the opening quarter. Once Dublin settle however, they always had the slight upper hand with Carlow relying too much on Emma Brennan for their scoring. The centre-back shot all five of her side’s points, three from frees and one from a 45.
To be fair, the Dublin defence was outstanding, with goalkeeper Stephanie Carthy being named man of the match. Certainly, the result might well have been different but for the netminder’s two saves before half time and with her handling and puck-outs also first rate, her performance was top class.
The outstanding Elaine Gallery, Joeleen Hoary and Carol Anne Canning were the point-scorers for Dublin but the deciding score arrived ten minutes into the second half, when substitute Laoise Quinn gathered possession on the edge of the square from a diagonal delivery and shot to the Carlow net.
On Saturday, Galway defeated Kilkenny in a thrilling All-Ireland minor ‘A’ final, while Derry had a much more comfortable victory over Wexford in the ‘B’ decider.
The Black and Ambers led at the interval by 1-6 to 1-2 but Galway cut loose in the second half, accumulating 1-6 without reply in ten minutes to stamp their control on proceedings. Player of the match Rachel Monaghan contributed 1-3 of that as she built up a personal tally of 2-8 to propel her side to a 2-12 to 1-10 win.
In the B final, Derry played with the elements in the opening period and put the game to bed. They led by ten points at the break on the way to a very comfortable 2-16 to 2-5 success. Bronagh McGillion was the chief inspiration for the Oak Leafers, for whom Mairéad McNicholl and Rosanna McAleese raised green flags.