Kilkenny’s Gala All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship hopes are hanging by a thread after they were well beaten by last year’s finalists Cork in Kilmanagh on Sunday.
The National League champions went down by 5-11 to 0-07 against the rampant Rebelettes, who collected a fifth victory from six championship outings.
With one round of games remaining, the table is now delicately poised.
Cork and Galway have booked their places in the semi-finals but there is now a three-way shootout for the remaining two slots.
Tipperary and Wexford are locked together on six points, two ahead of Kilkenny, ahead of next weekend’s decisive round of fixtures.
Cork had Sunday’s tie against Kilkenny wrapped up by half-time after opening up a 3-05 to 0-03 lead.
SÝle Burns found the net after 16 minutes and the same player struck again four minutes later for the rampant Leesiders.
Less than sixty seconds later, Briege Corkery bagged Cork’s third goal to establish a 3-03 to 0-01 lead and kill the game stone dead.
Amanda O’Regan scored two late goals for Cork to add gloss to the scoreline on a day when SinÚad Millea top-scored for Kilkenny with three points.
In contrast, Cork had 2-01 hauls from Burns and O’Regan, 1-01 from Corkery and 0-05 from the lethal Rachel Moloney.
Meanwhile, battling champions Wexford ensured that they are still in with a real chance of making the semi-finals of the Gala Senior Championship after securing a dramatic 3-08 to 2-08 victory against Tipperary on Saturday.
The Model County lost their opening two matches but three successive victories have been racked up in recent weeks, none more precious than this crucial victory at Semple Stadium.
Una Leacy was the heroine with a 2-02 haul and her second goal, the matchwinning strike, arrived almost three minutes into stoppage time, with the scores level at 2-08 apiece.
Leacy got a flick to a booming delivery from halfway and the ball finished up in the back of the Town End net.
Off the ball, Tipp corner forward Jill Horan clashed with Wexford wing back Aoife O’Connor and Horan was issued with a straight red card to compound the home side’s misery.
Tipp held a 1-05 to 0-05 half-time advantage on a humid afternoon as MairÚad Morrissey prodded home the goal after 10 minutes following an uncharacteristic error by Wexford goalkeeper Mags Darcy.
Wexford were right back on terms two minutes after half-time as Leacy supplied Ursula Jacob for Wexford’s first goal before Tipperary’s top scorer Claire Grogan, who bagged 1-05, scored her goal direct from a 20 metre free.
With nine minutes left, Wexford had come on strong to lead by three points before Tipp hit back with scores from All-Stars Philly Fogarty and Grogan (twice) to level the game.
A draw looked on the cards but Leacy had the final say with a deft flick and after Cork did them a real favour against Kilkenny, the Slaneysiders will guarantee a semi-final place with a victory in their final group match next weekend.
Galway assured themselves of a semi-final berth with a comfortable 3-10 to 0-06 victory against Dublin in Killimor on Saturday.
Galway had scoring contributions from nine different players and first half goals from Deirdre Burke (19 minutes) and Brenda Kerins (25 minutes) helped to open up a 2-03 to 0-03 half-time advantage.
Dublin had a chance to claw their way back into the game with 13 minutes of normal time remaining but Ciara Lucey’s penalty was saved by Galway net-minder Susan Earner.
Two minutes later, substitute Molly Dunne sealed Galway’s victory with her side’s third goal after collecting Jessica Gill’s long delivery.
Picture shows Una Leacy, Wexford, in action against Suzanne Kelly, Tipperary. Gala All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship