Camogie’s new blood continued to progress as Clare and Dublin won their play-offs at O’Moore Park to make it to the All-Ireland senior quarter-finals, which will take place next Saturday.
With Wexford and Galway already in the semi-finals, the two teams are now ranked in the top six in the country at worst, as a result of these performances.
The manner of their wins could not have been more different though, as Clare produced a stunning second half performance to prevail 1-19 to 1-7 against Tipperary, while Dublin needed extra time to edge it 0-17 to 2-10.
Clare reminded us of the talent in their ranks as Fiona Lafferty gave a player-of-the-match display that yielded four points, and Claire McMahon shooting ten points from placed balls.
It was a day to remember for 17-year-old Niki Kaiser, who scored her first championship points. Meanwhile Naomi Carroll, who played for Ireland in their 8-0 U21 hockey international success six days earlier, was also on target.
There was little sign of what was in the offing in the first half, which ended with Clare leading by 0-7 to 0-5. Nicole Walsh and Jill Horan were amongst Tipperary’s scorers and the Premier girls thought they had hit the front five minutes before half time when Noreen Flanagan scrambled the sliotar to the net from Walsh’s delivery in the 25th minutes. She was adjudged to have been in the square however.
Caoimhe Maher and Walsh hit points in response to Kaiser’s early opener but Tipp would not score for another 22 minutes, when Walsh goaled from a late penalty.
John Carmody’s outfit struck 1-11 in the intervening period, raising five white flags before Ailish Considine doubled wonderfully on a McMahon free to goal. McMahon was on fire as the Banner girls shot six more points before Walsh’s 55th minute consolation.
There was much more tension in the second game in Portlaoise, with Kilkenny’s goals keeping them in contention for so long against a fired-up Dublin. The Sky Blues led deservingly by 0-6 to 0-2 at the interval but despite the unerring shooting of Mairi Moynihan, were forced into extra time by goals from Elaine Aylward and Katie Power that left it 0-13 to 2-7.
Kilkenny stretched to a two-point lead after the first period of extra time but showed tremendous character, with points from Moynihan and Orlaith Durkan to restore parity once more.
And it was player of the match, Arlene Cushen who came forward from the half-back line to shoot the winner, and spark tremendous celebrations.