Offaly seal All-Ireland junior win

Offaly seal All-Ireland junior win

Offaly 3-14 Waterford 2-8, Croke Park

Offaly bounced back from last year's All-Ireland final defeat to claim the Gala All-Ireland Junior Camogie Championship title this afternoon, beating first-time finalists Waterford by 3-14 to 2-8 at Croke Park.

Two goals in the space of a minute from corner forwards Siobhan Flannery and Arlene Watkins confirmed this history-making All-Ireland success for the midlanders.

Although playing against a stiff breeze in the opening half, Offaly began brilliantly and confined Waterford to just one point in the first quarter.

Joachim Kelly's side showed great hunger early on as points from Arlene Watkins and Elaine Dermody and a brace of Michelle Davis scores ensured a 0-4 to 0-1 lead by the 12th minute, with Aine Lyng scoring Waterford's opening point.

Indeed, Offaly were firmly on top in all sectors and were unlucky not to have a goal in the fifth minute, after Siobhan Flannery was brought down by Waterford captain Sally O'Grady for a penalty.

However, Dermody was unable to dispatch the resulting penalty shot to the net, with Waterford defending superbly.

Offaly were celebrating a goal in the 20th minute though, following a sustained period of pressure.

Dermody flashed the ball to the back of the net to ensure a 1-5 to 0-2 lead.

Waterford were only able to notch two points before the interval as Offaly and their full-forward Dermody gave an exhibition of point-scoring.

The impressive Dermody bagged four more points before half-time, with scores also from Siobhan Flannery and Tina Hannon giving the Faithful County a 1-11 to 0-4 advantage for the break.

Waterford began the second half in determined fashion as Offaly were left on the back foot in the opening minutes.

The Deise side were in impressive form, and outscored their opponents by 1-2 to 0-1 in a ten-minute spell.

Andy Moloney's charges firmly make amends for a poor first half showing, as they cut the deficit to six points.

Aine Lyng slotted over two pointed frees, while Patricia Jackman broke through for a 35th-minute goal.

Reigning All-Ireland Poc Fada winner Jackman showed tremendous pace and vision as she latched onto a Nicola Morrissey pass, before firing the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Audrey Kennedy.

In the end though, Offaly put in a strong final quarter shift. Those two quick-fire goals from Flannery and Watkins paved the way for a comfortable victory.

Aine Lyng registered a late goal for Waterford with three minutes remaining, but this was mere consolation as Offaly held out for their first All-Ireland triumph.

After the game, Offaly captain Marion Crean received the Junior Cup from Uachtaran Cumann Camogaiochta na nGael, Joan O'Flynn.

OFFALY: A Kennedy; K Brady, L Keena, F Stephens; L Sullivan, M Crean, S Sullivan; K Nugent, M Morkan; A Kelly (0-1), T Hannon (0-2), M Davis (0-3); S Flannery (1-1), E Darmody (1-6, 0-4f), A Watkins (1-1).

Subs used: J Brady for Flannery (55 mins), A Corrigan for Kelly (59), E Dunne for Davis (62).

WATERFORD: A O'Brien; V Gaffney, S O'Grady, KM Hearne; G Kenneally, M O'Donnell, S Kiernan; M Murphy, C Raher; S Curran, A Lyng (1-3, 0-2f), N Morrissey (0-1); P Jackman (1-1), K Kelly (0-3, 0-2f), A Breathnach.

Subs used: J Simpson for Curran (half-time), A Kelly for Breathnach (52 mins), M Russell for Curran (59).

Referee: Pat Walsh (Armagh)

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