Mighty Mary's dethrone the All-Ireland champs
St. Mary's (New Ross) 4-5 Loreto (Kilkenny) 3-6
After three years of defeats in Leinster finals - two in Minor, one in Junior - against Loreto Kilkenny, St. Mary's finally turned the tables to take the Junior 'A' Schools camogie title in Graiguenamanagh recently.
A tense start saw scores hard to come by, with Sarah Flynn breaking the deadlock with a fine point. Loreto hit back with a goal and pair of points, but the Mercy girls showed the resolve that has been a feature of their season to battle back into the game.
Kate Foley pointed a free and shortly after this a long-range free by the Horeswood clubwoman caused panic in the Loreto goalmouth and went all the way to the net.
From there until half-time the exchanges were frantic. A Katie Murphy goal on the stroke of the interval saw St. Mary's take a one-point lead into the change of ends (2-2 to 1-4).
The second-half started brightly for the New Ross side, and Katie Murphy scored her second goal of the game to extend the lead. For the next ten minutes or so both teams looked to exert their dominance on the game.
During this period a hugely determined New Ross school grew in confidence.
A resolute defence shut out any Loreto attacks with a hard-working midfield providing great service to an ever more dangerous forward line.
A long-range point from a free from centre-back Amy Cahill inspired her colleagues, and a Niamh O'Shea goal pushed St. Mary's seven points clear with under ten minutes to play.
Loreto drove forward in search of scores and pulled the deficit back to two points nearing full-time.
There were some nervy moments before referee Pat Kehoe blew the final whistle and the celebrations could begin.
In a game that ebbed and flowed from start to finish, the St. Mary's team showed great heart and maturity when the pressure came on to hold out for a famous victory.
The win not only saw them become Leinster champions but also dethrone the current All-Ireland champions who came into the game with a strong pedigree.
St. Mary's now play St. Brigid's of Loughrea in the All-Ireland semi-final on Saturday week at a Galway venue.
St. Mary's: Hannah Dunphy (Mullinavat); Niamh Ogilvie (Cloughbawn), Katie Kehoe (Horeswood), Bríd Walsh (St. James'); Elaine Quigley (Cloughbawn), Amy Cahill (Rathnure), Aine Galavan (The Rower-Inistioge); Aisling Prendergast (Graiguenamanagh), Tara Doyle (Cloughbawn); Niamh O'Shea (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown), Ciara Walsh (St. James'), Sarah Flynn (Cloughbawn); Katie Murphy (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown), Cria Langton (The Rower-Inistioge), Kate Foley (Horeswood). Subs. - Faye Codd (Cloughbawn), also Gemma Dunne (Graiguenamanagh), Gráinne Kelly (The Rower-Inistioge), Eimear Holden (Graiguenamanagh), Caoimhe Lyng (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown), Kathryn Dempsey (Horeswood), Eva Mooney (Rathnure), Ella Foley (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown), Méadbh Nunan (Fethard), Amy Ryan (The Rower-Inistioge), Sophie Roche (Rathnure), Sinéad Murphy (St. James'), Róisín O'Connor (Rathnure), Fiona Guiney (Rathnure), Jane Prendergast (The Rower-Inistioge), Ella Dalton (St. James'), Ella Lyng (Rathnure), Kate Galavan (The Rower-Inistioge), Alison Donnelly (Glenmore), Fiona Ryan (Gusserane).