Roscommon too strong for Meath in All-Ireland minor camogie final
Roscommon claimed the All-Ireland Minor B Camogie title with an impressive 2-9 to 1-7 victory against Meath at Pearse Park in Longford this afternoon.
This was a solid display by the Roscommon girls who made the most of the scoring opportunities they created in contrast to Meath who were wasteful.
First-half goals either side of the water break gave Roscommon the platform for success as they established a 2-4 to 0-4 interval advantage.
Ciara Kilcommins claimed the first goal after a surging Sinead Mannion run created the opening, but the Roscommon still had a lot of work to do before she finished to the net.
That goal gave Roscommon a 1-3 to 0-2 advantage against a Metah side that made a very tentative opening and struggled to converts chance into scores with Rachel Duke and Moya Bird claiming the points.
Fast-moving Roscommon had points from Kilcommins, a superb Niamh Fitzgerald effort and Eimear O'Farrell and they added the vital second goal through Anna Campbell.
Roscommon went eight points clear when Siafra Finneran converted a 20th minute free, but Meath eventually settled and got back into contention from a brace of Clodagh Colhoun pointed frees.
One notable feature about Roscommon was the tackling ability of the players when they had to defend against some serious Meath pressure in the lead up to half-time.
Meath resumed smartly after the interval, but managed only a pointed Colhoun free that was countered by Roscommon's Claire McNeill.
Crucially, at that stage, a couple of point chances were squandered, but the character of the Meath girls was evident as they kept pushing forward.
When Robyn Dunne finished to the net 11 minutes into the second-half it reduced the deficit to two points 1-6 to 2-5.
That posed some serious questions for Roscommon and to the credit of the Connacht girls they stood strong and fashioned a solid response with points from Fitzgerald and Kilcommins for a 2-7 to 1-6 lead going into the second water break.
Meath could muster only one more point, a Rachel O'Neill free, while Roscommon added one apiece from Campbell and KIlcommins.
Roscommon centre-back Orla Connolly, who picked up the player-of-the-match award, was a pivotal performer with some excellent defending although she picked up a yellow card in the first-half for a blatant body-check on Meath's Rachel Duke.
The concession of the that free, that Meath sent wide, prevented a potent-looking attack by the Royal County developing.
While the Meath players will be disappointed with the defeat, there was much to admire about the overall performance and it surely augurs well for the future of the senior team with so much talent coming though from the under-age ranks.
This was a points highlighted by manager Anto O'Neill, the Kilmessan man steeped in hurling at club and county level.
"I am so disappointed for the girls, but they can be proud of what they achieved this year and over the last few years, hopefully they will push on from here and we will see them playing for Meath over the next few years," he stated.
Roscommon - Ciara Kilcommins 1-3; Anna Campbell 1-1; Niamh Fitzgerald 0-2; Eimear O'Farrell 0-1; Siafra Finneran 0-1 free; Claire McNeill 0-1.
Meath - Robyn Dunne 1-0; Clodagh Colhoun 0-3 frees; Moya Bird 0-1; Rachel Duke 0-1; Katie Kelly 0-1.
Roscommon - Ellen Cafferkey; Ciara Carr, Ali Campbell, Taylor Kelly; Siobhan Treacy, Orla Connolly, Mairead Lohan; Niamh Fitzgerald, Eimear O'Farrell; Ciara Kilcommins, Laoise Mahon, Siafra Finneran; Sinead Mannion, Anna Campbell, Claire McNeill.
Meath - Caoimhe Slattery (Na Fianna); Chloe Duignan (Killyon), Rosin Tobin (Navan O'Mahonys), Rachel Moran (KIltale); Emma O'Connell (Ratoath), Sarah Gilhooly (Ratoath), Emma Byrne (Navan O'Mahonys); Rachel O'Neill (Kilmessan), Olivia O'Halloran (Kiltale); Rachel Duke (Drumree), Emma Regan (Na Fianna), Robyn Dunne (Kildalkey); Clodagh Colhoun (Kildalkey), Laura O'Sullivan (Kildalkey), Moya Bird (Boardsmill). Subs - Isabel O'Connor (Navan O'Mahonys) for Byrne 21 mins, Katie Kelly (Na Fianna) for O'Sullivan 30m.
Referee - Barry Nea (Westmeath).