by Daragh Ó Conchúir
Laois finally brought their Croke Park torment to an end by overcoming a determined but profligate Roscommon in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland premier junior camogie final.
The O'Moore County girls had lost the previous two deciders and the weight of that history appeared to affect them at times as they sought to shake off their gritty opponents.
Indeed you could hardly say they were dominant in the first half and yet they led by 2-6 to 0-4 at the interval thanks to two goals in a minute.
The final margin was very hard on Roscommon and if anything, they were slightly the better side as they came to the end of the first quarter level on 0-3 apiece.
Then came the key period though. Sarah Ann Fitzgerald toe-poked to the net after her penalty was saved by Roscommon goalie Caroline Connaughton and a minute later, Laura Marie Maher finished clinically after controlling the sliotar brilliantly.
That kept Laois ahead even as they endured significant bouts of pressure from the westerners. Annette McGeeney struck a good point but four wides prevented Roscommon from making further inroads.
Instead, despite playing second fiddle for most of the second quarter, Laois finished with three points, including a wonderful Elaine Mahony strike from 60m to lead by eight points at the break.
Roscommon were in control at the outset of the latter period too and a goal two minutes after the resumption from Niamh Farrell, followed by a pointed Kelley Hopkins free got them back into the game.
They could not capitalise on the good work of midfielder Rachel Fitzmaurice and half-back Susan Spillane though and paid the price as Laois and particularly player of the match Louise Mahony stepped it up.
The Harps' sharpshooter raised the siege with a fine point from play. She kept the scoreboard ticking over with five further scores to bring her tally to nine and end the Laois agony.
Scorers - Laois: L Mahony 0-9(7fs); SA Fitzgerald, LM Maher 1-0 each; E Mahony, N Dollard, A Burke 0-1 each
Roscommon: K Hopkins 0-4(3fs, 1 45); N Farrell 1-0; A McGeeney, C Curley 0-1 each
Laois: L Dunne, M Burke, R Bermingham, A Burke, E Mahony, E Delaney, S Creagh, O Parkinson, SA Fitzgerald, N Dollard, L Mahony, A O'Dea, A Burke, LM Maher, A Loughman. Subs: D Mortimer for O'Dea (21), C Walsh for Creagh (60), S Moylan Burke (60)
Roscommon: C Connaughton, C Killeen, S Coyle, A Byrne, S Spillane, E Daly, J Beattie, N Coyle, R Fitzmaurice, K Hopkins, A McGeeney, R Brennan, C Curley, N Farrell, F Connell-Jones. Subs: M Fannon for Connell-Jones (22), C Dowling for Brennan (42), M Brennan for Curley (57), N McCormack for Farrell (60), C Morriss for Killeen (60)
Referee: G Coulter (Down)