Britain Camogie Junior Championship Final
Liverpool Wolfe Tones 3-8
Brothers Pearse 3-7
Wolfe Tones are All Britain Junior Camogie champions after a thrilling second half played on a parched field in Páirc na hEireann.
It was by no means an easy victory and it looked for a while when Brothers Pearse got their noses in front that the title was heading down the M40 to West London.
Having fallen at the final hurdle last year to Manchester neighbours Fullen Gaels, the Liverpool girls were out to make amends.
Brothers Pearse were the first to find the net. Danielle Harrington hit an early goal and Danielle Kiely added a point put the West Londoners in front 1-1 to 0-1 after five minutes. Liverpool’s point came from the stick of Emma McParland.
However, Wolfe Tones upped the ante and battled back hard with an unbelievable point from Tara Doyle.
Brothers Pearse should have found the net again only for some great saves from Catriona Burden in the Liverpool goals.
Tones found the net themselves with Catherine Kelly firing home, before Kiely brought the game level with a lovely point from a 65 and edged Pearses in front minutes later with a free. But back came Wolfe Tones with Edel Martin’s long range free ending up in the Pearse’s net.
Emma McParland added a third major for Wolfe Tones to leave the Merseysiders five points up at the break, 3-2 to 1-3.
The second half resumed in helter-skelter fashion and Brothers Pearse came out fighting, quickly narrowing the gap to three points with Kiely hitting another 65 and a point from play.
Tones were finding the going tough in attack with the Brothers Pearse defence of Jacqui Lawton, Stephanie Broderick, Paula Redden and Caoimhe Hogan applying immense pressure, forcing the Tones into hitting four wides in a row.
After hitting a number of wides themselves, Brothers Pearse finally got their rewards with a goal through Ellen Healy to level the game.
Tones replied with a point from Aoife Quinn to edge them back in front, before Lisa Skehill pounced for a goal for Brothers Pearse to push the West Londoners two points ahead with ten minutes remaining.
That was to be last goal of the game with both defences closing ranks.
Niamh Hansberry and Edel Martin in the Liverpool half back found another gear for Tones and Aoife Quinn and Cathy Lavery started to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Nine minutes left and a point from captain Lavery brought the game back to a point, before Kiely restored the Pearse’s two-point margin.
Quinn and Kiely exchanged points again before Quinn hit two from play to draw the game level with time almost up.
It was end-to-end stuff before a foul gave the Liverpool girls a chance to edge their noses in front again.
Up stepped Quinn with a beautiful strike to put Wolfe Tones up a point with one-minute remaining.
Pearses launched one last assault on the Liverpool goals, but found no way through with a last gasp clearance from Edel Martin sealing victory for Wolfe Tones.
Brothers Pearse can take some consolation in the fact their opponents found themselves in their position last year and while the loss will hurt, they have the foundations to go one better next year.
Speaking after the game Wolfe Tones manager Finnian O’Callaghan said: “I’m absolutely delighted; our plan at the start of the year was to win both the League and Championship so we were coming down to Birmingham on a mission.
“But we knew we had a huge hurdle to overcome in Brothers Pearse. I told the girls before the game that we needed to play to our maximum from the first minute to the final minute.
“I wasn’t actually expecting it to go down to the wire like it did, but credit to Brothers Pearse they put up serious opposition to us.
“Our whole squad were fantastic today again, but special mention must go to our captain Cathy Lavery whose work rate was immense. Aoife Quinn showed unbelievable nerve to score the last four points for us.”
Scorers – Liverpool Wolfe Tones: A. Quinn 0-5(0-1f), E. McParland 1-1, E. Martin 1-00(f), C. Kelly (1-0), Tara Doyle 0-1, C. Lavery 0-1(f). Brothers Pearse: D. Kiely 0-7 (0-5f), D. Harrington 1-0, E. Healy 1-0, L. Skehill 1-0.
Liverpool Wolfe Tones: C. Burden, S. Farrell, N. Hansberry, J. Heffernan, E. Martin, A. Quinn, C. Lavery, T. Doyle, C. Woulahan, C. Kelly, E. McParland, S. McCaughey. Subs: C. O’connor for C. Woulahan. Not used: E. Cushnahan.
Brothers Pearse: K. Higgins, C. Hogan, J. Lawton, S. Broderick, P. Reddan, D. Kiely, M. Kilkenny-Kelly, E. Healy, M Lally, D. Harrington, L Skehill, Bronwyn Keeshan.
Referee: M. Brennan (Thomas McCurtains).