Ballyhale Shamrocks turned a rushed campaign into one to celebrate when they won their first Leinster club intermediate camogie final in Nowlan Park today.
The Southerners beat Camross (Laois) by 3-3 to 1-4, with all their scores coming from the talented half-forward line of Margaret Mary Fennelly (1-0), Kelly Anne Cotrell (1-1) and Keeva Fennelly (1-2).
The winners meet the Connacht champions in the All-Ireland semi-final in February at a venue as yet unknown.
The new champions, who played the first round in Leinster the day after they won the Kilkenny title, were a bit slow into their stride. Camross free taker, Sara Ann Fitzgerald nabbed two early points to help them settle, but they missed some good scoring chances afterwards.
However, a Shamrocks goal from Keeva Fennelly in the 10th minute helped the Noresiders find their way, and they roared on to lead by 1-2 to 0-3 at half-time.
The winners defence was absolutely brilliant after the turn and conceded just one point. Goals from Kelly Ann Cottrell (37th minute) and Margaret Mary Fennelly (42nd minute), a spectacular over-head effort, made all the difference as brave opponents were put to the sword.
Player of the match - Margaret Mary Fennelly.
Scorers: Ballyhale Shamrocks - Keeva Fennelly (1-2); Kelly Ann Cottrell (1-1, point 45); Margaret Mary Fennelly (1-0). Camross - Sara Ann Fitzgerald (1-2, goal free, one point free, one point 45); Niamh Dollard, Therese Keenan (0-1 each).