Offaly will play either Wexford or Antrim in the All Ireland semi-final after a comfortable win over Waterford in a wind swept and bitterly cold Crinkle on Saturday morning.
All Ireland Minor B Camogie Championship
Playing with the wind in the first-half, Offaly led by 2-7 to 0-3 at the break with the goals coming from Rachael Brennan and Helen Dolan. In the second-half Offaly were rarely threatened with Aishling Brennan dominant at centre-back as Waterford were kept well away from the home side’s goal.
Offaly’s forwards were in fine form on the day scoring 2-13 from play with the impressive Grainne Egan top scoring with six points.
In the end Offaly were fully deserving of their 12 point win and they could have won by significantly more had it not been for a string of fines saves from Waterford ‘keeper Jade Fraher.
The sides were evenly matched in the opening quarter of the game and were locked at three points apiece after 12 minutes.
Ann-Marie Guinan opened the scoring for Offaly but that was quickly cancelled out by a free from Valerie O’Brien. Points from Mairead Jennings and Grainne Egan put Offaly ahead after eight minutes but Waterford responded with points from Jessica Glavin and a ‘45 from Valeire O’Brien.
Waterford had a chance to move into a three point lead but a powerful shot from Angela Flynn was well saved by Shannon Touhy in the Offaly goal.
After the close fought opening 12 minutes, Offaly began to get the upper hand and they blasted into the lead on 15 minutes when Rachael Brennan sliced through the Waterford defence before drilling the ball to the back of the net.
A point from Grainne Egan followed before Offaly added a second crucial goal. Captain Helen Dolan did well to win possession close to the Waterford goal and after playing a one-two with Rachael Brennan, Dolan smashed the ball to the back of the net to put Offaly 2-4 to 0-3 ahead.
Grainne Egan should have had a third goal for Offaly soon after but her powerful shot was matched by a brilliant diving save from Jade Fraher.
Further points from Grainne Egan (2) and Eimear Mooney put Offaly ten points clear at 2-7 to 0-3 but they were again denied a goal when Fraher saved another goal bound shot, this time from hugely impressive midfielder Colleen Fitzgerald.
Playing into the diagonal wind in the second-half, the sides exchanged points early in the second-half with Grainne Egan and Eimear Mooney cancelling out points from Valerie O’Brien and Angela Flynn.
Offaly extended their lead to 12 with points from Mooney and Grainne Egan midway through the half but Waterford hit back with two more points from frees from Valerie O’Brien who finished the game with six points.
That reduced Offaly’s lead to ten but the home side were never in danger of losing the game as they defended superbly right from the front to the full-back line with Waterford rarely getting any time in possession.
In the closing stages Offaly outscored Waterford by four to two with Grainne Egan (2), Rachael Brennan and Helen Dolan all finding the target with Angela Flynn and Valerie O’Brien replying for the visitors.
The result ensured that Offaly topped their group with wins over Dublin and Waterford and they now await the losers of next week’s final Group 1 game between Wexford and Antrim. The semi-final is fixed for April 13.
Scorers: Offaly: Grainne Egan 0-6 (0-2f, 0-1 ‘45); Helen Dolan 1-2; Rachel Brennan 1-1; Eimear Mooney 0-3; Ann-Marie Guinan 0-2; Mairead Jennings 0-1. Waterford: Valerie O’Brien 0-6 (0-4f, 0-2 ‘45); Angelan Flynn 0-2; Clare Murphy 0-1
Offaly: Shannon Touhy; Laura Hogan, Roisin Egan, Clodagh Shanahan; Laura Keenaghan, Aishling Brennan, Kelly Sammon; Ciara Ryan, Colleen Fitzgerald; Ann Marie Guinan; Grainne Egan, Christine Cleary; Mairead Jennings, Rachael Brennan, Helen Dolan (c). Subs: Eimear Mooney for Mairead Jennings (7mins), Ayesha Brazil for Roisin Egan (52mins), Edel O’Meara for Clodagh Shanahan (52mins), Lisa Gorman for Helen Dolan (58mins)
Waterford: Jade Fraher; Hayley Cox, Roisin Cahillane, Sarah Geoghan; Johanna Houlihan, Labhaoise Dunbar, Sarah Coughlan; Mia O’Flynn, Clare Murphy; Lorraine Bray, Caoimhe McGrath, Angela Flynn; Valerie O’Brien, Sinead Cummins, Boonie Keating. Subs: Shauna Fennessy for Angela Flynn (58mins), Michelle McDonnell for Boonie Keating (50mins), Eimear Walsh for Sarah Geoghan (60mins)
Referee: John Thompson