By Mark Jones
Mayo 0-12, Waterford 0-8
Mayo teams haven’t had much success at Croke Park during the 1990s. In fact, the Connacht county had lost nine finals at various levels until last Sunday, when their women at last put the record straight with a deserved win in the All-Ireland football decider.
No disrespect to the winners, but young women might be more appropriate in this case. Amazingly, 10 of the Mayo side were teenagers, but they played with an impressive maturity to shatter Waterford’s hopes of back-to-back titles.
It wasn’t the fast and fluent exhibition of football that the 15,000 attendance had hoped for, but Mayo built on their 0-5 to 0-4 interval lead to surge clear during the second half.
In attack, Sinead Costello, Diane O’Hora and Sabrina Bailey were as elusive as usual. However, this time it was Mayo’s defense which stood firm. Helena Lohan and Nuala O She kept Waterford at bay as the gap closed to just a single point with eight minutes remaining.
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Geraldine O’Ryan and Niamh Barry had sparked Waterford’s revival, but Mayo finished in a blaze of glory with two further points from O’Hora and a raucously received last score by Costello. Minutes later O’Hora became the last GAA player to walk up the stairs into the Hogan Stand to receive a trophy. The famous Hogan was demolished on Monday as part of Croke Park’s redevelopment.
Tyrone 3-12, New York 2-4
Brave New York were unable to build on a fast start in the All-Ireland junior women’s final at Croke Park as Tyrone ran out comfortable winners in the end.
Catherine McAteer kicked three early points for New York and sub Cathy McKennan struck for a goal, but inspired by Eilis Gormley, who scored a brilliant 3-6, Tyrone went on to take the honors.
Of the five county hurling finals scheduled for last weekend, Birr triumphed in Offaly with a 3-15 to 1-11 win over St. Rynagh’s, while Ahane took the honors in Limerick by beating Kilmallock 0-14 to 2-5. In Meath, Kilmessan were 3-10 to 1-8 winners over Killyon and Crotta O’Neills and Lixnaw drew 2-8 apiece in the Kerry decider.
Meanwhile, the Ulster club hurling title was won by Cushendall of Antrim who were too good for Ballygalget of Down on a scoreline of 1-12 to 1-8.
In football, the Mayo title went to Crossmolina who defeated Ballina by 0-9 to 0-7 and Roscommon Gaels came through in the Roscommon replay when they got the better of Kilmore by 0-10 to 0-6.
Dromard edged out Abbeylara in the Longford replay by 1-10 to 1-8, Tourlestrane defeated Easkey by 1-11 to 1-9 in Sligo and Kilanerin took the Wexford title with a 1-13 to 1-7 win over Castletown.