Birthday girl Diggin powers Kingdom to historic first title
Kerry 0-11 Limerick 0-8, Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Camogie final
Kerry manager Ian Brick hailed the work-rate of his team as they won the county's first Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Camogie Championship title.
Patrice Diggin will remember this birthday for a long time, as she scored five points and was named player of the match.
Brick, however, was quick to praise his entire team. "We didn't make it easy for ourselves in the last 10 minutes," he said, referring to a slew of wides, with Diggin uncharacteristically culpable for some. "We always knew Limerick were going to be very tough, very physical, with great speed all over the pitch. We found it very hard to contain them early on," he said.
"Going forward we weren't brilliant... Limerick were putting us under pressure but the work-rate was the best part of our game today. We knew if we could just keep grinding it out, we'd be there or thereabouts at the end," Brick added.
"Limerick had a very good game-plan. We thought we'd be able to dominate but we weren't able to and that was down to Kevin (Connolly) and his tactics. They brought our defence all over the field and we found it hard to settle up front.
"Giving the girls hugs after, their jerseys were drowned in sweat and that's all you can ask for."
Limerick were on top early on but good defensive work by Elaine Ryall and Sara Murphy denied them a score.
Bríd Horan pointed from Kerry's first attack but Rebecca Noonan, who excelled for Limerick from placed balls, levelled from a difficult free tight to the Cusack Stand side and outside the '45.
Diggin and Noelle Curtin exchanged scores once more, the latter finishing well after doing wonderfully to emerge from a ruck with possession.
Kerry got on top and they hit the next four points via Julianne O'Keeffe, Diggin from play and a free and Jackie Horgan but Limerick were back to within one at the break, 0-6 to 0-5, Noonan converting frees either side of a nice finish by Ella Whelan.
Substitutes Ann Marie Leen and Clodagh Walsh combined for the latter to score within 31 seconds of the resumption and by the end of the third quarter, Kerry were four ahead.
Limerick halved the deficit via Noonan and Shauna D'arcy and though Diggin was struggling with her radar late on, she did add one more point to her tally. With the defence never looking likely to concede a goal, Kerry were bound for the Intermediate ranks.
Scorers - Kerry: P Diggin 0-5 (4f); B Horan, J Horgan, J O'Keeffe, R McCarthy, S Murphy, C Walsh 0-1 each. Limerick: R Noonan 0-5 (5f); N Curtin, E Whelan, S Darcy 0-1 each
Kerry - A Fitzgerald; E Ryall, L Houlihan, A O'Connor; N Leen, S Murphy, M Costello; P Diggin, L Collins; J Fitzell, J Horgan, R McCarthy; B Horan, J O'Keeffe, O Dineen. Subs: A M Leen for Fitzell (h-t), C Walsh for Horan (h-t), A Maunsell for O'Keeffe (48).
Limerick - L O'Carroll; K Herbert, Y Lee, E Butler; S Shanahan, A Coughlan, S McElligott; O Kelleher, A Kennedy; R Noonan, G M O'Kelly, N Curtin; M Curtin, G Lee, E Whelan. Subs: L Browne for Kelleher (35), S D'arcy for O'Kelly (44), C Brennan for Lee (45), K Carroll for N Curtin (55).
Ref - G Donegan (Dublin)