Camogie: Westmeath girls make history in Limerick

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship: Westmeath 1-12, Limerick 0-12

A goal from the returning Denise McGrath proved the difference, as Westmeath made its debut at senior grade camogie with a well-merited and historic win over a new-look Limerick side in Bruff today.

Johnny Greville’s charges led from the outset in a classy display, with the full forward line of Megan Dowdall, Pamela Greville and Ava Balfe confounding the hosts, and the Maroons defending well throughout to keep Limerick at bay.

Dowdall was magnificent, showing bags of pace and skill while picking off four points from play. But this was a memorable Westmeath team display, and an exhibition in that winning mentality which has brought the county from junior ‘B’ to senior in less than a decade.

The Lake County, dominant for most of the first half, led 0-7 to 0-2 by the 22nd minute, with goalkeeper Fiona Keating opening the scoring with a monster of a free from inside her own half.

Balfe (a sublime score from the right corner), Dowdall (0-3) and Greville (0-2f) all scored, before another long-range salvo from Keating led to Delvin star McGrath latching onto a poor Limerick clearance and firing to the net (25 minutes).

Limerick then enjoyed a ten-minute spell of dominance, and by the third minute of the second half had cut the deficit to a goal, with Caoimhe Costelloe (0-4), Mary O’Callaghan and the creativity of Caoimhe Lyons dragging the Treaty girls back into contention.

Westmeath found their groove again though, and hit four points in succession through Dowdall, Sheila McGrath, Greville (a free) and Aoife Doherty.

Limerick battled back in the closing stages, but were heavily reliant on Costelloe, and their best chance at a goal came when wing back Judith Mulcahy’s shot drew an outstanding save from Westmeath’s Keating.

As time ran out, the Maroons had enough work done to ensure what is one of the most memorable results in the history of Westmeath camogie.

Westmeath: Fiona Keating (captain, 0-1f); Emily McCabe, Méadbh Scally, Laura Doherty; Amy Cully, Fiona Leavy, Sarah King; Muireann Scally, Caoimhe McCrossan; Aoife Doherty (0-1), Denise McGrath (1-0), Sheila McGrath (0-1); Megan Dowdall (0-4), Pamela Greville (0-4f), Ava Balfe (0-1). Sub used: Aoife O’Malley for McGrath (45).

Limerick: Laura O’Neill; Nóirín Lenihan, Muireann Creamer, Marian Quaid; Judith Mulcahy, Sinéad McNamara, Neamh Curtin; Mairead Ryan, Dearbhla Egan; Sophie O’Callaghan, Mary O’Callaghan (0-1), Orlaith Kelleher; Caoimhe Costelloe (0-9, 5f), Caoimhe Lyons, Niamh Ryan (0-2f). Subs used: Ella Whelan for Egan (40), Karen Mullane for Lenihan (42), Katie Finn for Kelleher (52), Eva Butler for M Ryan (52), Lorraine McCarthy for M O’Callaghan (56).

Ref: Justin Heffernan (Wexford).

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