NCL Division 1B, 3A & 4 Champions Crowned

It was a day of late drama in the National Camogie League 1B and 3A Finals as Dublin and Armagh secured stoppage time wins in their respective finals, while Tyrone continued their unbeaten run to land the Division 4 honour.

Division 1B Final: Dublin 2-10 Wexford 2-08, SETU Carlow Campus

A stoppage time goal by Grace O’Shea saw Dublin claim the spoils in the 1B decider as they came from behind the dying embers to win out by two points.

Wexford will certainly be left heartbroken having fought back from conceding a goal in the 51st minute to the Dubs as SInead Nolan struck to give them the advantage.

Wexford had the ideal start when Ciara O’Connor who proved their main scoring asset netted a goal inside the opening two minutes. The Dubs hit back as Grace O’Shea, Aisling Maher and Aoife Heffernan pointed to level the tie by the eight minute.

For the remainder of the half it was tit for tat between the two as both sides would exchange points for the remainder of the half, Laura Dempsey with a score in stoppage time to level the game going into the break, 1-4 to 0-7. 

O’Connor tagged on three more points to end the third quarter in strong fashion for Wexford, while Maher had got Dublin on the board early in the half they trailed 1-7 to 0-8. Dublin found their rhythm early in the final quarter.

Sinead Nolan and Grace O’Shea unfurled the white flag to level the tie by the 49th minute, before Nolan rattled the Wexford net with a crucial goal to put Dublin three points ahead. Wexford did not let their heads drop. O’Connor first with a point and then a goal from the tightest of angles had Wexford ahead by a point approaching stoppage time.

O’Connor hit 2-6 of Wexford’s tally but it was not enough as two minutes into stoppage time, O’Shea struck the hammer blow rippling the Wexford net for the winning score.

Division 3A Final: Armagh 0-14 Laois 2-07, Abbotstown

Stoppage time points from Sinead Quinn and Rachael Merry saw Armagh claim the Division 3 title as Laois made it a pulsating finish in Abbotstown.

A goal from Aíva Coss had levelled the tie deep into stoppage time but Armagh added those vital scores to take the win having led for the grand majority of the contest.

Merry drew first blood for Armagh but minutes later Aimee Collier dispatched the sliotar into the Armagh goal for a two point lead. It did little to phase Armagh who finished the opening quarter in strong fashion.

Quinn, Merry, Tierna Maxwell and Ciara Geoghegan all striking points for a 0-5 to 1-0 lead by quarters end. Merry added a third point of the half as Armagh pushed further clear, Collier would add two points to end the half with a one point deficit 0-6 to 1-2.

Collier levelled the tie with the first score of the second half but Geoghegan added a second of the contest to put Armagh back into the lead minutes later. For just the second time in the tie Laois would lead, Grainne Delaney and Collier with points to equalise and then see Laois ahead narrowly by the 38th minute.

Armagh hit back as Merry and Geoghegan were both on the double to put Armagh ahead 0-12 to 1-6 approaching the hour mark. Laois did not surrender to the thought of defeat, Collier cut the gap to two with a brace of frees before Coss struck to the net in the fourth minute of stoppage time to level the tie.

No sooner had the net bulged at one end, Armagh waved the white flag at the other as Quinn was composed to land a second point of the tie as again proceedings were level. Indeed Armagh would be composed in the final minutes to see out the tie, Merry with the winning score seven minutes into the red.

Division 4 Final: Tyrone 3-16 Wicklow 0-10, Darver

Tyrone proved two strong for Wicklow on a blustery day in Darver as they landed the Division 4 crown with a 15 point winning margin.

The Red Hands started on top and failed to let their lead slip throughout the tie. By quarter’s end they were ahead 1-7 to no score. 1-4 coming from Lara Devlin, while Rachel O’Neill struck two points and Cara Little also got on the score sheet.

Nicole Curran got Wicklow on the board after 17 minutes but two further points from Little kept Tyrone well in control. Sophie Bermingham and Laura Smyth helped cut the deficit as the half drew to a close, Tyrone ahead 1-9 to 0-3 at the interval.

Wicklow started the second half the stronger with Bermingham, Smyth and Curran all point with the aid of the breeze to cut the gap to eight seven minutes into the second half. Tyrone ended the third quarter scoring 1-2, Lara Devlin and Kaitlin Gallagher with points either side of Cara Little rattling the net for a 2-11 to 0-6 lead.

The Garden County were taking their scores well early in the final quarter as Bermingham, Curran and Smith all found their range but Little and Gallagher kept Tyrone ahead 2-14 to 0-10 approaching the hour mark.

Oilibhia Farley’s goal with 57 minutes on the clock was the knockout blow for Wicklow as that looked to have signalled defeat for the Leinster side. Devlin and Aine Cunningham capped off the performance with late scores as Tyrone will look to press on Championship.

Diarmuid Kearney is a freelance Sports Journalist based in Co Kerry. He has more than 5 years experience covering domestic and international soccer for different media organisations, while also working for local and national print and digital organisations covering GAA.

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