Galway, Cork, Wexford and Limerick also victorious
By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Kilkenny continued their impressive start to the Liberty Insurance Senior Championship with a resounding victory over Tipperary at Semple Stadium.
Ann Downey’s (above) charges had to go to extra time to account for their old rivals in the National League semi-final but buoyed by their subsequent victory in the final against Galway, the Noresiders have been flying in the championship. An Ann Dalton goal after five minutes set the tone and Kilkenny quickly moved nine points clear thanks to further points from Denise Gaule, Michelle Quilty and Katie Power.
Scores from Nicole Walsh, who finished with eight points, and Sarah Fryday helped Tipp settle and they were well in touch at the break trailing by just six, 1- 10 to 0-7 Kilkenny hit the first four points after the restart but Tipperary responded in kind to leave the game still in the melting pot with 11 minutes remaining.
The Black and Amber girls moved up another gear to close it out really well though with points from Dalton, Power, Quilty, Shelly Farrell and Gaule (who ended with seven) to make it 1-21 to 0-11 at the final whistle.
In the other Group 2 game, Ailish O’Reilly bagged a hat-trick of goals as Galway also retained their 100 per cent record with a 5- 9 to 1-7 win over Dublin at Parnell Park. A Noreen Coen goal gave the visitors the perfect start and it took 12 minutes for Ali Maguire to open Dublin’s account.
O’Reilly goaled from the puckout however and hard though they tried, Dublin were never going to peg back the deficit. Coen and O’Reilly added to their goal tallies, while Sarah O’Donovan did find the net for Dublin. In Group 1, Wexford got back on track with a 3-12 to 1-11 victory over Waterford at Walsh Park.
Not for the first time, it was a goal from Úna Leacy that sent them on their way but their neighbours showed plenty determination throughout and Beth Carton struck the net at the other end to leave her side well in touch at the break, trailing by just 1-7 to 1-5.
Kate Kelly had four of the winners’ points and she kept the scoreboard ticking over in the second half, while goals from Leacy and Linda Bolger helped hold off a Waterford team propelled by the excellent Carton and Trish Jackman. Offaly had begun their campaign with two wins but they found champions Cork too strong in Fermoy, falling to a 3-14 to 1-5 defeat.
Clare have endured a torrid campaign and suffered another defeat despite an improved display, this time at the hands of Shannonside rivals Limerick in Cusack Park. A goal in the first half from a long distance free by Niamh Mulcahy proved critical and her side prevailed by 1-13 to 0-9 despite a strong second-half effort by the Bannerwomen.