Irish Daily Star Camogie League Division 1 champions Cork were held to a draw after a magnificent clash with Tipperary at the Ragg writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.
Both sides contained some inexperienced players, with Tipperary making a host of changes from the team that had performed so poorly in the previous round against Offaly.
The Premier got off to a bad start though and conceded two hand-passed goals to Orla Cotter and Katrina Mackey but Aoife McGrath got one back and they trailed by just 2-7 to 1-5 at half time.
They lost Erena Fryday to a shoulder injury but young substitute, Mary Hanafin had a big impact, although there was little anyone could do about the excellent Orla Cotter, who was causing a lot of trouble at full-forward and finished with a tally of 1-4.
Cork were unable to provide the graceful Cotter with the same ammunition in the second half though and she was forced to relocate to midfield in a bid to restore the Leesiders’ dominance.
Nicole Walsh was in clinical form from placed balls and with Cáit Devane pulling the strings, Tipperary gradually edged back into contention. The sides were level at the end of the hour but what was only Cork’s second point of the second half from a Cotter free looked to have snatched it for Cork in injury time. From the puckout, Tipperary were awarded a free however and Devane converted from just inside the half-way line to grab a share of the spoils on a 1-12 to 2-9 scoreline.
Limerick marked their return to the top tier with a resounding 4-14 to 2-3 win over Derry at Dunganny. Joe Quaid’s outfit, who won the Division 2 title last year, led by 1-9 to 1-1 at half time and pulled clear in the second half to get their Division 1 campaign off to the perfect start. Mairéad Fitzgerald provided two of the Limerick goals, while Niamh Mulcahy and Caoimhe Costelloe also found the Derry net.
Kilkenny were pushed hard by Clare but emerged with the points in their Irish Daily Star Camogie League Division 1 Group 1 tie at Ballyhale.
The beaten All-Ireland finalists looked sluggish in the first half and were flattered by the fact that they were level with Clare at the interval on 0-4 apiece, with Claire McMahon scoring three points from frees for the visitors.
The Noresiders were a different proposition in the latter period though, with Shelley Farrell causing havoc in the Clare defence, and they scored five unanswered points, with Denise Gaule converting three frees and Aoife Neary and Ann Dalton slotting points from play.
The Bannerwomen dug deep though and scores from Emer Considine, Kathleen Hogan (free) and Máire McGrath got them to within two points with a couple of minutes remaining.
Kilkenny sealed the win though with a goal in the first minute of injury time when Marie Dargan’s ground stroke trickled over the line.
In Group 2, Wexford’s goal threat was the key ingredient of their 3-11 to 0-5 defeat of Dublin in New Ross.
The visitors’ efforts weren’t reflected by the final scoreline, as they had a first-half penalty saved and a goal disallowed a minute into the second half.
Wexford did most of the damage in the first half with a wind-assisted 1-7, while keeping Dublin scoreless. They had 1-2 of that in the opening five minutes, with the goal an opportunistic finish by Fiona Rochford from close range after the sliotar had broken off the upright.
Dublin scored the first two points courtesy of frees from Ciara Berkely and Mairi Moynihan but goals from Linda Bolger and Stacey Kehoe in the second quarter ensured a home victory.
There wasn’t to be a double success for the Model County though as their second team lost to Galway in their Division 2 game by 2-7 to 0-6.