Athenry were denied by an outstanding display by Johnstownbridge goalkeeper and captain Tanya Johnson in Saturday's IB All Ireland Intermediate Club Camogie final at St Tiernach’s Park.
Johnson made three saves in the first half from Noreen Coen, before being beaten by Eimear Keane early in the second half, but when Athenry legend Therese Donohue (formerly Maher ) bore down on goal and shot for the corner, the netminder stood firm once more.
Coen was a threat throughout the first half, and while Johnstownbridge had a goal from Shauna Beattie in the seventh minute, the Galwegians established a greater foothold thanks to Jessica Gill, Donohue and Coen, but the latter’s second point was the only return from four goal-scoring opportunities, thanks largely to Johnson.
Johnstownbridge stretched their advantage to five points at the interval (1-5 to 0-3 ), and although Athenry had shown enough into the wind to suggest that they could make hay with it, they never created the same opportunities, with Coen’s influence reduced by moving away from the edge of the square.
New full-forward Keane struck a goal straight from the restart after good work by the excellent Derval Higgins and Niamh Keogh, who was introduced as a first-half sub.
At that juncture, Athenry were favourites to get their hands on the Agnes O’Farrelly Cup, but just as they had done in the second half of the semi-final win over Eglish, JTB displayed considerable resilience and with Aisling Holton, Clodagh Flanagan and Aoife Trant prominent, made themselves very difficult to break down.
Holton sped forward for a vital point before Johnson somehow repelled Donohue, but a couple of converted frees by Higgins left the minimum between the sides.
O’Connell (free ) and Mahon swapped points to leave the game on a knife edge before Hurley was calmness personified to leave Johnstownbridge with that dangerous-looking two-point advantage.
It was to be enough though as they kept Athenry at bay to spark riotous scenes of joy at the final whistle.
SCORERS FOR ATHENRY: E Keane 1-0; N Coen, D Higgins (fs ) 0-2 each; T Donohue (f ), E Mahon 0-1 each
ATHENRY: M McDonagh, R Glynn, N Keane, F Page, K Moran , J Gill, L Hannon, D Higgins, G Cahill, N Hannon, T Donohue, E Keane, N Donnellan, N Coen, E Mahon. Subs: N Keogh for N Hannon (26 ), N Hannon for Donnellan (36 ), C Cunniffe for Mahon blood (54-56 ).