Hannah Sherlock got 1-05 combined with a powerful second half display for the Farney County in Kingscourt was enough to book Monaghan into the All-Ireland Minor A Final against Cork with a 3-16 to 3-12 win over Meath writes Aisling Clery.
Monaghan, who are through to first All-Ireland Minor A final in 20 years, led from the start and although the Royals narrowed the gap to two points just before the break, Monaghan had enough to push further ahead and book a spot in the Final.
In an entertaining opening half, it was Monaghan that started the better; leading by 2-03 to 0-01 after ten minutes. Amy Garland raised the first green flag of the game as her effort slipped past Meath netminder Emily Jo White.
Monaghan were enjoying more of the possession and they got their reward when a inch perfect pass from Michaela Linden found Aine Loughman and the Carrickmacross player made no mistake with the finish.
Meath’s response was immediate as Emma Duggan added the first point of a 2-10 haul. Hannah Sherlock pulled one back from Monaghan after the corner forward was given too much space.
Duggan pointed once more, a goal chance that instead slipped over the crossbar. Almost immediately on the resumption, Susie O’Rourke found Duggan and the Meath Senior footballer found the net.
Monaghan hit back straight away and a foul in the small square gave them a penalty which Sherlock duly converted. 1-01 from Duggan including a converted penalty brought the Royals back to within two but two points from Aine Loughman and Lauren Garland gave Monaghan the upper hand.
Duggan had the final say of the half as she hit her 5th point of the first thirty minutes and there was just three between the sides at the break, 3-06 to 2-06.
As the second half got underway, Meath’s defence was more resolute as early Monaghan efforts were smothered by the Royal backline.
Two Duggan frees sandwiched a Sherlock free to make it a two point game after five minutes of the second half.
With both sides eager to push on, it was advantage Monaghan as they won several Meath kickouts and hit five unanswered points; three from Captain Jane Drury and one each from Amy Garland and Michaela Linden after a terrific run.
Drury had an excellent second half as the Monaghan Captain led her side to victory.
Just when supporters thought it was over, the Royals hit back. A Maedhbh Byrne point was quickly followed by a Susie O’Rourke goal to make it a three point game once more.
Drury and Duggan traded scores twice more but the free-taking of Hannah Sherlock ensured Paula Cunningham’s charges remained in front.
It was a nervy finish however Monaghan hung on to claim a coveted spot in the All-Ireland Final.
Meath: Emma Duggan 2-10 (1 pen, 6F), Susie O’Rourke 1-00, Meadhbh Byrne and Seona Lynch 0-01 each.
Monaghan: Hannah Sherlock 1-05 (1 pen, 4F), Amy Garland 1-03, Aine Loughman 1-01, Jayne Drury 0-04, Lauren Garland, Aisling McAnespie & Michaela Linden 0-01 each.
Meath: E.J. White; S O’Kane, M.K. Lynch, O Smith; K McCarthy, O Lally, A Farrell; S Wall, L Devine; O Gore, M peters, S Lynch; M Byrne; E Duggan, S O’Rourke.
Subs: A McCabe for Devine (‘37), P Reilly for K McCarthy (‘49)
Monaghan: C Duffy; C Brennan, M Monaghan, A Garland; E Traynor, J Duffy, L Garland; A McAnespie, M Linden; C Ward, A Loughman, J Duffy; S Sherlock, J Drury, M Greenan.
Subs: L Walsh for A Loughman (‘62)
Referee: Siobhán Coyle (Donegal)