It was a case of so near yet so far for Derry in the All-Ireland Intermediate camogie final against Galway at Croke Park.
A Katie McAnenly goal from a penalty in the third minute of injury time had thrust the Ulster champions into a 3-12 to 3-11 lead but in the closing seconds Rachel Monaghan converted a free to bring the contest to a replay.
It had been a riveting battle, spliced with skill, honest endeavour and some outstanding individual performances on both sides.
Derry looked to have stamped their authority on proceedings when they led by 1-5 to 0-2 with just ten minutes gone and the strong wind very much in their favour.
A rather fortuitous Eilish Ni Chasidaigh goal and three points from the dangerous Karen Kielt underpinned Derry’s strike power and with Grainne McGoldrick, Sinead Cassidy and Katie McAnenly (pictured) working hard, the Oak Leaf side looked capable of moving into an even stronger position.
But three points from Emma Kilkelly boosted Galway and when Maria Breheny subsequently fired into the roof of the Derry net the westerners suddenly gained fresh momentum.
Derry, though, responded almost immediately when McAnenly took a clever pass from Kielt, swivelled superbly and thundered home a superb goal to put her side firmly back in the driving seat.
Yet Galway showed considerable resilience and skill in hitting back and substitute Catriona Cormican surged through to hammer in a spectacular goal that put just three points between the sides.
A further point from Kilkelly heightened Galway’s resolve and they were just two points adrift at the interval (2-8 to 2-6).
The accurate Kielt piloted Derry into a 2-10 to 2-7 lead early in the second-half but a Deirdre Burke goal kept Galway in contention.
Grainne McGoldrick, Grainne McNicholl and the ever-accurate Kielt were on target for the Oak Leaf side but Rachel Monaghan and Aoibhen Kenny landed points to set up the grandstand finish and the replay.
Down, however, endured heartbreak when they lost the Premier Junior final to Meath by 1-11 to 1-9.
Sarah Louise Carr scored 1-2 for the losers while her sister Fionnuala, who scored six points, Catherine McGourty and Paula Gribben all tried hard.
This was the second successive year in which Down have lost a final and defeat proved a particularly bitter pill to swallow on this occasion.