Down finally rise to the occasion for All-Ireland junior camogie title
Down 1-12 - Laois 1-8
If disappointment was their lot on the All-Ireland camogie stage in recent years, then Down more than atoned for those setbacks by claiming the All-Ireland Premier Junior title in sparkling style at the expense of Laois yesterday.
Energetic and courageous throughout, Down eventually won by 1-12 to 1-8 and afterwards manager Alistair McGilligan was only too keen to hail his heroines.
"These players may have had bitter disappointments in the past but I just told them to focus totally on the job on hand this time round and they got over the line – I'm delighted for them," beamed McGilligan.
His team, though, were pushed all the way by a Laois side that included the outstanding player on view in Niamh Dollard.
Her early goal buoyed the midlands side but when Sara Louise Carr landed Down's goal just before half-time this sent her side in with a 1-4 to 1-3 lead.
Laois, though, proved tenacious, pressing forward repeatedly but Down's ability to pick off points, best perhaps exemplified by Catherine McGourty, Niamh Mallon, Karen McMullan and Karen Gribben, stood them in good stead.
The Ulster side finished strongly with McMullan and Gribben on target as they sealed a notable victory.
Meanwhile, Roslea showed that the recapture of the Fermanagh senior football title is a priority by the efficient manner in which they disposed of Ederney in the semi-finals.
Roslea, champions in 2010, 2011 and 2013, were contained in the first half by their opponents who enjoyed parity of esteem at 0-5 each shortly after half-time but subsequently fell away. Sean Quigley and Dermot Reilly scored the Roslea goals.
Former Fermanagh midfield ace Martin McGrath turned out at full-back for Ederney and acquitted himself very well while Paul McCusker too did his best to galvanise the side.
Teemore secured their place in the decider by beating Devenish by 1-10 to 0-10, Kieran Fitzpatrick's 21st minute goal proving crucial in carving out their 1-5 to 0-5 interval advantage and sustaining the side in the second period.
In the Monaghan football championship, Scotstown overcame Castleblayney by 2-15 to 0-11, Conor McCarthy and Shane Carey grabbing their goals while Paul Sherlock, Darren Hughes and McCarthy were in the vanguard of a points-scoring blitz. Ballybay beat Truagh Gaels by 2-15 to 3-9 in a replay.
Tyrone legend Peter Canavan saw his Cavan Gaels sustain a fright when they were fortunate to land a draw (0-11 each) against a plucky Lacken side.
Eamon Reilly and Martin Dunne were impressive for the Gaels but Lacken's courage served them well. Cuchullains moved on, though, by beating Killygarry by 0-11 to 0-9.
In a turgid contest Martin Reilly scored Killygarry's first point just 28 seconds before the interval whistle sounded and with Donal Thomas impressive at midfield they made more of an impact immediately after the break.
But impressive substitute Darragh Gannon hit two points before Brian McGee popped up with the all-important insurance point.
Kingscourt defeated Ramor United by 1-12 to 0-12 having led by 0-10 to 0-4 at half-time although it took Christy McGowan's 43rd minute goal to provide the winners with stability for the final quarter, Ramor having missed no fewer than six goal chances before the interval.