Derry clinch All-Ireland camogie title

Derry 3-12 Clare 2-14, Croke Park

Derry 3-12 Clare 2-14, Croke Park

Derry won their first All-Ireland Junior camogie championship title since 2000 thanks to a hard-fought 3-12 to 2-14 victory over Clare at Croke Park this afternoon.

It was a late goal from Aisling Diamond which stole the win for the Oak Leafers.

The teams were level on seven occasions during the game including four times in the opening half, after which they were level at 0-7 apiece.

Grainne McGoldrick was certainly the Derry starlet in the opening half-hour as the midfielder struck a brace of excellent points including a long range free in the 21st-minute from exactly the midfield mark.

If McGoldrick was the Oak Leafers' most impressive player in the first half, Claire Commane certainly proved her worth in the Banner colours with two first half points, and the Corofin woman also picked up the player of the match award as she continued her good work in the second period.

Derry took the initiative ten minutes after the restart when a long ball found an unmarked Aileen Laverty in the 39th-minute and the corner forward had no problem in slotting home the game's first goal.

However Clare were handed a lifeline with eleven-and-a-half minutes remaining when a clever through ball from Kate Lynch broke to corner forward Claire Commane who slide the ball past Derry goalkeeper Claire O'Kane to level the contest for the sixth time at 1-11 apiece.

The Banner girls were not keen to stop there and within two minutes they rattled the Derry net for a second time with almost a replica move - Kate Lunch sent in a long range free which this time broke to full-forward Sharon McMahon who ensured Clare took a goal advantage.

A quick point from McMahon saw Clare break further in front but this was a real case of a goal rush as from a sideline cut 45 metres out, Grainne McGoldrick picked out full-forward Paula McAtamney who slotted the ball to the Clare net.

With just a point separating the sides at this stage, it was anybody's match and Derry were really sensing something as they battled hard for an equaliser. However, they were met with some resilient Clare defending and good goalkeeping from Claire Lynch.

Still, Derry did finally manage an equalising score thanks to an impressive point from substitute Katrina O'Kane, with two minutes of normal time remaining.

The game was not over by any means and as the sideline official indicated six minutes of injury-time would be played. Clare once again broke in front thanks to a fifth point of the hour from Commane.

The corner forward quickly extended this lead to two points but somehow - with seven and a half minutes of injury-time played - Aisling Diamond struck the ball to the net after a half-save from Clare goalkeeper Denise Lynch and the title was Derry's.

Teams and scorers :

DERRY: C O'Kane; C Pickering, H Kelly, C Cushnehan; K Laverty, C Doherty, J Carey; G McGoldrick (0-3, 2f), B Convery; K McAuley, A Diamond (1-3), E Henry; S Cassidy (0-3), P McAtamney (1-3, 3f), A Laverty (1-0).

Subs used: M McGoldrick for Pickering (49 mins).

CLARE: D Lynch; H McMahon, D Corcoran, A Colleran; K Hally, D Murphy, S Lafferty; K Lynch, J Scanlon; C Roseingrave (0-2), C O'Loughlin, A Ryan (0-2); C Commane (1-6, 3f), S McMahon (1-3), S O'Loughlin.

Subs used: F Lafferty (0-1) for Hally (22 mins), K Hally for J Scanlon (34), S Moloney for S O'Loughlin (45), A O'Brien for C O'Loughlin (both 45), C O'Loughlin for Ryan (57).

Referee: Cathal Egan (Cork)

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