Thynne provides inspiration as Kilmessan retain crown
Kilmessan (Meath) 3-12 Four Roads (Roscommon) 1-12
A stunning performance from Meath dual star Megan Thynne powered Kilmessan to victory in a memorable final at Navan, her late goal finally killing off a resolute challenge from Four Roads.
As reigning champions, Kilmessan were expected to come through this test, but Four Roads hadn't read the script, as they burst to an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead.
They still led by a single point midway through the first half, when Thynne announced her presence, cutting in from the right corner and striking an inch-perfect low shot inside Cáit Kenny's near post.
Four Roads rallied, making far better use of their chances - every attempt on goal from the Roscommon champions found the mark in the first half.
Lizzy Glennon-Tully palmed an equalising goal after good work from Niamh Coyle and Shauna Fallon, and Coyle then pointed from distance to put Four Roads in front, but there was another burst to come from Kilmessan shortly before half time.
Thynne set up Katie Ní Choileáin for a second goal, then struck one of the best points of the game to make it 2-5 to 1-5 at the break.
After the restart, Four Roads clawed their way back.
Kilmessan weathered that storm and when Ní Choileáin made it 2-8 to 1-6 10 minutes into the second half, they looked like they might drive on.
Instead, what followed was Four Roads' best spell. Glennon-Tully continued to run the Kilmessan defence ragged, Coyle sent over a score under pressure and Fallon continued to be faultless from placed balls.
But Thynne pounced for a late goal to put a gap between the teams that was a little harsh on the valiant Connacht club.
SCORERS - Kilmessan: M Thynne 2-2, A Donnelly 0-6 (4fs), K Ní Choileáin 1-2, T King, A Lynch 0-1 each. Four Roads: L Glennon-Tully 1-2, S Fallon 0-5 (5fs), N Coyle 0-2, P Lennon, A Dempsey, S Coyle 0-1 each.
KILMESSAN - A M Dennehy; A Walsh, R Kelly, M Lally; M O'Leary, A Lynch, L O'Neill; T King, S Horan; N Doyle, Aileen Donnelly, L Dennehy; M Thynne, K Ní Choileáin, C Doyle. Subs: Abby Donnelly for O'Neill (28), M Horan for Dennehy (60), C Ní Choileáin for King (60).
FOUR ROADS - C Kenny; K Carty, E Lennon, D Kelly; A Fallon, G Dowd, M Hastings; S Fallon, P Lennon; S Coyle, N Coyle, N Crean; A Dempsey, L Glennon-Tully, S O'Brien. Subs: O Kelly for Hastings (38), L Gacquin for Crean (48).
Ref - M Ryan (Tipperary)