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Last-gasp free from Paula O’Hagan saves Down from drop


Down's Paula O'Hagan scored the winning free

Down's Paula O'Hagan scored the winning free

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Down's Paula O'Hagan scored the winning free

They may have found the going tough but Down managed to retain their senior status in the All-Ireland Camogie Championship when they just managed to edge out Offaly by 1-11 to 0-13 in a thrilling contest at the Liatroim Fontenoys complex on Saturday.

It took a last-gasp point from a free by Paula O’Hagan to see the Mourne side home after Offaly had offered dogged resistance throughout the game.

The visitors led by 0-8 to 0-7 at the break and when Aimee McAleenan fired in the only goal of the game in the 36th minute Down looked to have taken a firmer grasp on the game. But Offaly battled gamely and it took the combined finishing powers of Niamh Mallon and match-winner O’Hagan to see the home team over the line.

But Down just came up short in the All-Ireland Junior Championship when they lost to a lively Roscommon outfit by 2-12 to 4-3. Orlaith McCusker (2), Katie McGilligan and Frances Toner shared the Down goals and when the team trailed by 1-2 to 0-6 at half-time it looked as if Roscommon might engage a higher gear.

But the plucky Down side stuck to their task although Roscommon’s ability to pick off points from distance proved crucial.

Antrim came up short against Limerick at senior level (1-14 to 1-11) in Corrigan Park after having led by 1-7 to 1-5 at half-time. Meadhbh Laverty’s early goal fired up Antrim but Lorraine McCarthy’s goal for Limerick proved a steadying influence.

Caoimhe Costello and Rebecca Deele troubled the Saffrons defence in the second-half through their accuracy and although Aine Magill and Caitrin Dobbin tried hard for the home side, they succumbed over the final furlong.

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It was a different story in the in the All-Ireland junior championship series in which Antrim beat Limerick by 0-20 to 0-5. Dervla Cosgrove, Caoimhne McNaughton, Orlagh Laverty and Fionnuala Kelly led the winners’ points-scoring blitz.

Also in the intermediate championship, Derry turned on the style to beat Wexford by 4-12 to 2-13 at Bellefield. The Oak Leaf side led by 3-3 to 0-2 at the half-way stage before being reined in at half-time (3-3 to 0-9) but they managed to produce a finishing spurt that took them to victory.

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