Kilkenny, Tipperary, Wexford and Offaly make quarter-finals
By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Galway deployed the afterburners in the second half to repel Kilkenny in Freshford and book a direct berth in the semi-finals of the Liberty Insurance Senior Camogie Championship.
This was a repeat of the National League final won by Kilkenny and the Noresiders had marginally the better of a very tight opening period, at the end of which they led by 0-4 to 0-3, with Denise Gaule providing three of their scores and Niamh McGrath slotting two frees for Galway.
Not for the first time this year, Ailish O’Reilly gave Ollie Bergin’s charges the impetus to step up a gear with a goal eight minutes after the resumption and Niamh Kilkenny followed up with a point. Kilkenny were in determined mood though and Gaule responded with three points to bring the sides level but as the game opened up, it was Galway that accelerated, with five consecutive points to establish the game-winning margin, as it ended 1-12 to 0-10.
In the other Group 2 game, Dublin beat Derry by 6-11 to 1-3 but just missed out on joining Kilkenny in the quarter-finals by virtue of having a two-point inferior score difference to Tipperary.
Sarah O’Donovan pounced for two goals inside the opening quarter of an hour and they led by 2-5 to 0-1 at the interval. With the victory assured, Shane O’Brien’s crew went for broke. Síle Nic Coitir, Louise O’Hara and Emma Flanagan raised further green flags before Nic Coitir bagged another in injury time but it was agonisingly short of what they needed to advance.
In Group 1, three teams finished on 12 points with four wins each but it is All- Ireland champions Cork who advance to the last four directly after their 3-17 to 1- 9 defeat of Limerick at the CIT grounds. There was little in it at half time and a Chloe O’Brien goal kept the visitors in touch, trailing by just 0-11 to 1-5.
The danger signs were there though, with Limerick over-reliant on Niamh Mulcahy once more, as the Ahane legend contributed five points. Katrina Mackey, Ashling Thompson and Orla Cotter were among the point scorers, with Thompson in outstanding form in the middle of the field. Amy O’Connor’s directness paid off with two goals and Cotter also found the net as Paudie Murray’s outfit streaked clear by 3-17 to 1-9.
Wexford and Offaly go forward to the quarterfinals after wins over Clare and Waterford. Wexford will play Tipperary while Offaly will face Kilkenny.
The Model County women trounced Clare in Corofin by 7-12 to 1-5, with Kate Kelly scoring a remarkable 3-8 and last week’s hero against Cork Úna Leacy helping herself two more goals.
Offaly had to work much harder to see off Waterford at St Brendan’s Park in Birr. Trish Jackman fired 11 points for the visitors but the Faithful’s finest have enjoyed a wonderful campaign and had just too much supporting firepower to Michaela Morkan, who slotted 10 points of her own.
Linda Sullivan and Mairead Jennings rattled the Waterford net and it finished 2-17 to 0-13.
Group winners Cork and Galway proceed directly to Semi-Finals, which will be broadcast live on RTÉ One on Saturday, August 13th from Nowlan Park, Kilkenny)