Waterford claimed the All-Ireland U14 Ladies Football Silver title after edging out Tyrone by the slenderest of margins in a ten-goal thriller at the National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown.
Waterford 5-8 Tyrone 5-7
Report by Daire Walsh for the Irish Examiner newspaper
After her point had given Tyrone an early lead, Ella Tracey pounced for the opening goal of the game in the fourth-minute. Her half-forward colleague Lucy McCullagh followed up with two majors in the space of 60 seconds to put Tyrone firmly in the driving seat, but the Waterford challenge soon came to life.
Full-forward Clodagh Power got them up and running from a close-in free, before Emma Power raised goaled on the first-quarter mark. This was the confidence boost that the Deise required and even though Erin McGinn split the uprights for their Ulster counterparts, a powerful scoring blitz drew Waterford level by the 25th-minute.
Matching the efforts of McCullagh at the far end of the pitch, midfielder Treasa Ní Chrotaigh shook the Tyrone net with two unanswered goals moments after Clodagh Power had added her second point of the half.
This tested the resolve of Tyrone, but back-to-back scores courtesy of Isabella Grimes and Tracey propelled the northerners towards a 3-4 to 3-2 interval buffer.
Waterford edged in front for the first time on the restart with successive points from Caoimhe Flynn, Clodagh Power and Emma Power, but even though their substitute goalkeeper Shonagh Bradley saved a penalty from McCullagh, Tyrone’s fourth goal duly arrived through Tracey on 40 minutes.
A point by Tyrone substitute Cara McMoran established further daylight between the teams, before a re-energised Waterford added a fresh spark to an already compelling affair.
Clodagh Power restored parity with a goal at the end of a memorable run and the same player bagged her second goal in as many minutes to ensure the Deise were back in control.
Points followed from Tyrone captain Keeva Owens and Niamh McGrath inside the closing-quarter, but the game seemed destined for extra-time when McGinn’s smooth finish restored parity at 5-6 apiece in the 59th-minute.
Yet Waterford had other ideas as a 0-2 salvo from Clodagh Power offered them breathing space in advance of a stoppage-time pointed free by Owens.
Scorers – Waterford: C Power 2-5 (0-2f), T Ní Chrotaigh 2-0, E Power 1-1, N McGrath, C Flynn 0-1 each. Tyrone: E Tracey 2-2 (0-1f), L McCullagh 2-0, E McGinn 1-1, K Owens 0-2 (2f), I Grimes, C McMoran 0-1 each.
Waterford: C Collins; M Byrne, K Winkle, E Gillane; S Peters, R Browne M Laffan; T Ní Chrotaigh, J Whelan; S Condon, A Lattimore, M McCusker; E Power, C Power, N McGrath.
Subs: B Dunford for Condon (16), C Flynn for Lattimore, S Radley for Collins, S Kirwan for Byrne (all h-t), E Coady for Dunford (38), S Barry for McCusker (44), S Mernin for Coady (53), Byrne for Laffan, E Coady for Barry (both 58), Laffan for Flynn (63).
Tyrone: C Orr; K Concannon, M Loughran, C Corrigan; E Daly, K Owens, C McCanny; A Leonard, E Daly; E Tracey, L McCullagh, Erin McGinn; I Grimes, C McCracken, C Hannigan.
Subs: M Lyons for McCracken (32), Eimear McGinn for Hannigan (33), M Muldoon for Grimes, F Connolly for Concannon (both 38), C McMoran for Tracey (40), A Holmes for McCullagh (55).
Referee: Ciaran Groome (Offaly).