Loreto through to All-Ireland final

Loreto Kilkenny2-5

Loreto Kilkenny2-5

St Patrick’s Maghera0-8

COOL heads in the heat of battle saw the Loreto prevail and reach another senior All-Ireland camogie final.

A week after pulling a draw out of the fire in their drawn game with Derry school St Patrick’s Maghera, the Kilkenny girls were at it again as they struck a late goal to book their place in the decider against St Brigid’s of Loughrea.

Lydia Fitzpatrick was the heroine, slamming home a 58th minute goal to hand the Leinster champions a last gap win at Watty Park, Glen on Saturday.

The long trip North proved to be no problem for the Kilkenny side, who used their experience and resilience to get the better of the Derry girls at the second time of asking.

With so much at stake both sides started cagily. The umpires were not troubled until the 15th minute, when Orla Hanrick burst through for the first score, a goal, that handed the Loreto the advantage.

St Patrick’s quickly recovered their composure, getting back into the game through points from Mairead McNicholl (2) and Adrienne Gorman before Brona Ni Chaiside edged them in front, but parity was restored when a late Hanrick free levelled matters on the stroke of half-time (1-1 to 0-4).

The Ulster girls went back in front when Shauna Quinn grabbed the opening score of the second half but the Loreto hit a purple patch soon after. They took control of the scoreboard, shooting four points in succession through Hanrick (3) and a long-range Lydia Fitzpatrick free to push their way to the fore (1-5 to 0-5).

With little under a quarter of the game to play it seemed as if the Loreto would surge on from here, but just like in the drawn game they were reeled in by a battling St Patrick’s. Three points in six minutes from the influential McNicholl gave the Maghera girls a level pegging once again, and the belief they could move on and take the lead.

However, they were undone in the dying minutes of a tense game. Following good work from Hanrick, Fitzpatrick gathered possession and picked her spot in the net, drilling the sliotar past the goalkeeper to keep her team’s hopes of a fourth successive All-Ireland title very much alive.

SCORERS: Loreto Kilkenny - Orla Hanrick (1-4); Lydia Fitzpatrick (1-1). St Patrick’s Maghera - Mairead McNicholl (0-5); Adrienne Gorman, Brona Ni Chaiside, Shauna Quinn (0-1 each).