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KILKENNY got the tonic start to the Gala All Ireland senior camogie championship that manager Ann Downey was looking for. Despite numerous recent underage successes for the Cats, the former All Ireland medal winner said when you win a few U16 and minor titles people expect you to be able to do the same at senior level, but it takes a while.


And now that they have kick-started their season with a merited 1-14 to 1-11 victory over Tipperary at Semple Stadium on Saturday, she says it will do their confidence the world of good.


“”Kilkenny haven’t competed at senior for a long time. They’ll believe they can compete now. Beating Tipperary will bring us on a lot. The fear is gone. We just needed to make the breakthrough. And to keep our heads above water would be brilliant. This is a monkey off our backs. The girls will be able to believe in their own ability. Today they stepped up to the plate.


“”They battled so hard especially after the hammering Tipperary gave us in the league. They deserve their hour. You have Aisling Dunphy in the half forward line – she is just out of under 16. They do everything I ask of them, even trained right through the June bank holiday weekend.””


Michelle Quilty powered Kilkenny ahead with a 34th minute goal after leading at the interval  0-7 to 0-4. Jacquie Frisby was outstanding in defence, as was captain Anne Dalton and Colette Dormer in the middle of the field. Aoife Neary returned nine points while Tipperary struggled to stay in touch. Claire Grogan notched 1-7 for the Premier Girls – the goal from a penalty a few minutes from the end.


Elsewhere, last season’s finalists Galway served notice they will be stiff opposition for any team, with their emphatic 3-17 to 1-4 triumph over neighbours Clare at Kenny Park, Athenry. The Banner girls – promoted to senior this year – stayed with the Maroon and White in the opening half trailing at the break 1-5 to 1-3, but when Veronica Curtin turned on the style with 2-4 along with Aislinn Connolly’s 1-8, there was no stopping the westerners. Carina Roseingrave recorded the Clare goal.

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