Meath and Kilkenny secured big wins in the Glen Dimplex All Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship quarter-finals at FBD Semple Stadium this afternoon, securing their place alongside Derry and Westmeath in the last four.
Elsewhere, Cavan and Roscommon came through a Premier Junior quarter-final double header, while Wexford overcame Down and Carlow beat Dublin in relegation battles.
Meath’s progression came thanks to a 3-11 to 1-11 victory over Cork, and key to this victory was a combination of solid defensive prowess, and a fine scoring performance from dual star Aoife Minogue, who plundered 1-5.
The Royals conceded just four points in the second half, two from play, as they shut down the Rebel attack with some outstanding one-on-one marking. The game’s most important score came when Minogue buried a 21m free to the net, pushing Meath 2-9 to 1-8 ahead early in the final period as they quickly overturned a one-point half time deficit.
Rose Murphy and Cliona O’Leary gave Cork an ideal start to this game but Grace Coleman got the Royals off the mark before the winners struck again. Minogue toiled hard for possession and found Ellen Burke, with the defender’s long-range strike deceiving everyone as it sailed into the net.
Two Minogue frees help Meath enjoy a 1-4 to 0-4 advantage but back came Cork as Rachel Harty won the break from her own side’s puckout before rattling twine for the Munster County.
Minogue helped Meath respond but two efforts from Lauren Homan saw Cork lead 1-7 to 1-6 at half time.
Meath surged in front at the start of the final period before Minogue’s free found the net to propel her side four clear. From there they pushed on as Rachel O’Neill’s long delivery was brilliantly caught by Abbie Donnelly, who tore through the Cork defence and buried to the top corner to ensure victory.
It was all much more tense in the other quarter-final, where Kilkenny ground out a 0-11 to 0-9 win over Wexford thanks to three late points. After Oonagh Doyle fired Wexford 0-9 to 0-8 ahead after 59 minutes, the Slaneysiders were unable to follow up and build on that advantage.
Instead, Kilkenny showed their grit and determination to finish strong. They still trailed by a point as the game entered three minutes of injury time, but Laura Greene fired over her fourth point from play to tie the game before Ellen Gunner nailed a pressure free after Danielle Quigley was fouled.
Quigley and Gunner combined again with the latter firing over the insurance score.
A tight first half saw the sides retire to the changing rooms level at 0-4 apiece. Kilkenny saw Afton Grace arrow over two opening half points while Oonagh Quigley did the same for her side. The second period saw an increase in action and drama as neither side led by more than two points throughout, Laura Greene’s quickfire brace helping her side lead early in the final quarter.
Wexford defied their underdog tag to come back as two Doyle scores moved them on the cusp of a famous win before a strong Kilkenny finish saw them through.
Meanwhile, Wexford’s first team gave some joy to the county as they secured their senior status by defeating Down, 1-16 to 0-15, in the sides’ relegation semi final. The loss means Down face Offaly next, with the loser of that encounter dropping down to the Intermediate ranks for 2024.
Ciara O’Connor’s nine point haul helped Wexford over the line while Aine Lacey’s goal proved crucial. Seven different players found the target for the winners with only three doing the same for Down. Niamh Mallon scored 0-10 for Down but it wasn’t enough on this
After a Mallon free put Down 0-1 to no score ahead, Wexford never trailed thereafter as O’Connor’s accuracy combined with Lacey’s 21st minute major helped the winners lead 1-8 to 0-8 at half time. Down persevered but Wexford’s greater scoring threat saw them prevail as Chloe Foxe and O’Connor’s late scores saw them edge through.
In the junior quarter-finals, played at Clane, Sarah Loughnane found the net twice and Olivia Phelan raised another green flag in Clare’s 3-14 to 0-7 win over Cavan.
The Banner County have been the standout side at this grade all year and they were much too strong here yet again, despite the best efforts of Clodagh Keenaghan and Shanise Fitzsimons for Cavan. The Ulster side trailed by just five points early in the second half after Sinéad McKenna made it 1-7 to 0-5, but they just scored one more point in the next 28 minutes, as Clare ran riot.
It was all very different between Roscommon and Cavan, where Shauna Fallon’s heroics pushed the Rossies to a 0-13 to 1-7 win.
Fallon scored 0-12 in total, including a stunning score in the 60th minute to edge them in front.
Rachel Fitzmaurice, who went on to later help Roscommon secure intermediate status by playing in their LGFA relegation playoff against Louth, helped load the bullets for Fallon in the opening 40 minutes, but a goal from a 30 metre free from Valerie Shanahan dragged Limerick back into the game, and the Killeedy shooter fired over another free with five minutes to go to edge her side in front, before Fallon stepped up with four late points, three from play.
Finally, in the intermediate relegation semi-final, Carlow overcame Dublin by 1-19 to 1-7 at Fenagh.