HAVING been beaten in the final for the last two years, Waterford finally secured the All-Ireland premier junior camogie crown despite a late, brave Down rally.
Goals from Ruth Geoghegan and Karen Kelly helped the Suirsiders into a 2-8 to 0-5 interval lead. Geoghegan was also unlucky to see a rasper bounce off the upright as Waterford took charge approaching half-time, while Niamh Rockett also drove a shot over off the crossbar.
That margin was 11 points by the 42nd minute, as Kelly and Trish Jackman added points, but a spirited Down outfit kept chipping away.
Catherine McGourty and the electric Niamh Mallon were amongst the scorers as the revival continued with eight successive points but Rockett ended a 17-minute scoreless period for the Deise to put four between them with a minute remaining.
That was to prove crucial as Down substitute Nicola Braniff goaled seven seconds into injury-time but Waterford were able to hang on to complete a league and championship double.
Scorers -- Waterford: K Kelly 1-5 (4f), R Geoghegan 1-1, P Jackman, N Rockett 0-2 each, Z O'Donoghue 0-1. Down: C McGourty 0-5 (3f, 1 '45), N Mallon 0-3, N Braniff 1-0, F Carr 0-2 (1f), L McPolin, K McMullan, K O'Higgins 0-1 each.
Waterford -- A O'Brien; E Hannon, J Simpson, KM Hearne; S Kiernan, C Raher, G Kenneally; P Jackman, D Fahey; N Rockett, N Morrissey, A Hannon; R Geoghegan, K Kelly, Z O'Donoghue. Subs: J McCarthy for A Hannon (34).
Down -- K Fegan; O Maginn, C McGovern, E McCormick; P Gribbin, F Carr, K Tinnelly; L McPolin, K McMullan; C McGourty, L McCrickard, K O'Higgins; N Mallon, SL Carr, K Gribbin. Subs: L Hughes for McCormick (h-t), N Braniff for McCrickard (47).
Ref -- W Cole (Cork)