Magical Tipperary were crowned All Ireland u-14 'B' champions for the second year in a row at Nenagh on Saturday with a 4-11 to 2-8 win over Meath.
Star of the show was Clonmel Commercials hat-trick hero Ava Fennessy who shot 3-4 in a superb display.
A nine point winning margin would appear to indicate a comfortable win but this was anything but.
For three quarters of this enthralling encounter Meath were well in contention and taking the game to Tipperary.
Meath began with serious intent and within four minutes were two points up against the breeze. At times the Tipperary defence looked about to be overrun but gradually they clawed they way back into this game.
In the seventh minute Ava Fennessy had Tipp's first score to settle the side. In the eleventh minute full forward Boherlahan’s Ciara Dwan drew the sides level with her first point from play.
Tipperary were guilty of some bad wides in this period but when Fethard’s Niamh Hayes combined beautifully with Ava Fennessy and Leah Clancy for the first goal in the 14th minute it appeared Tipp were in the ascendancy .
This goal was immediately followed by a point from Fennessy and Tipperary looked to be in the driving seat.
Not to be outdone Meath now rallied and in the next three minutes scored two goals and a point to take the lead back.
The Tipperary defence were now under considerable pressure from marauding Meath players and time and time again Fethard’s Alison Connolly was to the fore in breaking up these attacks.
Alison was outstanding in her reading of the play and at a period when Tipp needed to be strong she showed the way.
Tipperary got to grips with the game once more and finished the half with five unanswered points from Ava Fennessy (2), Ciara Dwan, Carrie Davey and Caitlin Kennedy to lead 1-8 to 2-3 at the break.
Tipperary’s Leah Clancy had the first point of the second half. Ava Fennessy was now getting onto more ball for Tipperary and her strength at centre forward would prove vital.
She followed up with a point for Tipperary but Meath came right back again and Tipp goalie Saoirse Teer made a fine block when a Meath goal looked certain.
Tipp cleared their lines but once more Meath struck for two well taken points to again close the gap.
With only two points between the sides the next score would be vital and when Ava Fennessy took on the entire Meath backline and finished to the net it was exactly the tonic Tipp required.
The game was now turning in their favour and they played lovely controlled football and maintaining possession against a very physical Meath team.
The Meath physicality would prove their undoing as referee Cathy Forde had by now shown yellow cards to two Meath players for persistent fouling.
Fennessy had her third goal from play in the 25th minute and try as they might Meath could not penetrate the Tipp backline.
They laid siege to the goal for the remaining three minutes but Tipperary were content to soak up the pressure and attack on the breaks.
Meath finished with two points from a free and open play deep into injury time when goals were required.
En route to this final Tipperary had defeated Limerick (twice), Waterford, Clare, Cork and Roscommon so these girls certainly have earned their All Ireland victory.
The All Ireland Cup was presented by Marie Hickey, President LGFA to joint captains Ciara Dwan and Caitlin Kennedy.
Ava Fennessy received the trophy for Player of the Match.
Congrats to Manager Ed Burke (Moyle Rovers) and his management team of Frances Ryan, Gareth Byrne, Mary Murphy, Tony Smith and Physio Bill McCormack.
Tipperary: Saoirse Teer, Ellen Moore, Maria Connolly, Cathy Hogan, Alison Connolly, Carrie Davey, Orla Winston, Caitlin Kennedy, Dervla Heffernan, Niamh Hayes, Ava Fennessy, Emma Fitzpatrick. Aisling Ryan, Ciara Dwan, Leah Clancy.
Scorers: Ava Fennessy (3-4), Niamh Hayes (1-0), Ciara Dwan (0-2), Aisling Ryan, Carrie Davey, Caitlin Kennedy and Leah Clancy (0-1 each).
Subs Used : Rosanna Kiely, Caoimhe Mulcahy, Rachel Moore, Eimear Boland.
Panel: Emma Shelly, Rosanna Kiely, Caoimhe Mulcahy, Ciara Morrissey, Alice Ryan, Bronagh Bergin, Erin Bourke, Ellen Gantley, Queva O’Meara, Lauren O’Brien, Veerle Van Der Waal, Eimear Boland, Rachel Moore, Leah Maguire, Mary O’Brien, Megan Tynan.
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