Two goals from corner forward Mairéad Daly secured TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Junior Football Championship glory for Offaly at Croke Park with a 2-11 to 0-12 win over Wexford today.
Daly struck twice in the second half as the Faithful County won an All-Ireland title for the first time since their 1981 senior success.
Offaly had beaten Leinster rivals Wexford twice already in this year’s championship but Greg Farrelly’s charges had to work incredibly hard for a third win against spirited opponents.
Daly, who was named player of the match, scored her first goal in the 38th minute, after Wexford had moved to within a point.
Daly’s strike opened up a 1-8 to 0-7 lead but Offaly could never relax until the St Rynagh’s player netted again in the final minute.
Wexford were trailing by just two points, 0-12 to 1-11, when Daly scored the insurance goal.
Kym Furey’s free dropped short but Wexford goalkeeper Maryrose Kelly lost possession and Daly blasted the ball into an empty net.
It was tough luck on Wexford, who gave as good as they got against the red-hot pre-match favourites.
And with ten minutes remaining, sub Chantelle Martin shot into the side-netting when a goal would have levelled the game.
But on the balance of play, Offaly, with Emma Corcoran outstanding in the half-back line, deserved the win as Linda Sullivan led the line brilliantly.
Sullivan bagged four points, all from play, and could have goaled in the second half but for a brilliant save from Maryrose Kelly, who deflected a powerful shot over the bar.
Wexford had scoring contributions from nine different players but goals were decisive on the day and Daly notched both.
At half-time, Offaly led by 0-7 to 0-4 but the best goal chance of the opening half fell to Wexford forward Ellen O’Brien, who did not get enough power on her shot.
Offaly’s team also contained Treasa McManus (sister of former county footballer Ciarán), who won an intermediate title in 2008 with Tipperary.
And the Leinster and All-Ireland champions will now make the step up to the intermediate grade for the 2014 campaign.
OFFALY: L Devery; A Byrne, E Dalton, M Guinan; E Corcoran, H McMahon, C McDonnell; T McManus, S Flannery; E Sullivan, M Daly (2-1), O Heavey (0-3f); L Keena (0-1), L Sullivan (0-4), A Kerrigan (0-1).
Subs: K Furey (0-1f) for Keena (18), A Norris for E Sullivan (45), C Bennett for Guinan (60).
WEXFORD: M Kelly; L Tector (0-1), A Fitzpatrick, C Donnelly (0-1); S Kehoe (0-1), C McCabe, M Doyle; R Murphy, A Murphy; A Evered, E O’Brien (0-1), K Kearney; F Rochford (0-1), L Evered (0-1), K Redmond (0-4, 3f).
Subs: R Lawlor for A Murphy (39), L Casey for Fitzpatrick (39), C Martin (0-1) for A Evered (55), M Quill for Kearney (49), L Casey for R Murphy (55).
Referee: MJ O'Keeffe (Cork).