By Daragh Ë Conch·ir
Offaly may have lost but inspired by Michaela Morkan, they showed that they will cause trouble for any team in the top level when pushing Galway all the way to the wire before giving way to a late Veronica Curtin goal and a 1-10 to 0-11 scoreline in Group 1 of the Irish Daily Star Camogie League.
Joachim Kelly’s charges have made giant strides in recent years, winning All-Ireland titles in junior and intermediate level in the past two summers.
They displayed plenty of self-belief and flew out of the traps with the aid of a strong breeze, to lead by 0-8 to 0-2 at the interval.
Full-forward Elaine Dermody proved razor-sharp from the frees, shooting five in that opening period with the excellent Morkan, Linda Sullivan and Jean Brady also on target.
The second half though saw the home side dominate with the elements in their favour and the women in the maroon and white knocked over eight unanswered points between the 32nd and 52nd minutes to edge two in front.
Aislinn Connolly and Rebecca Hennelly sniped two frees a piece with Noreen Coen and Finola Kelly also finding the range. Though Offaly equalised through Siobhan Flannery and Dermody (45), Curtin’s goal on the stroke of full time proved the decisive score.
It was a scare for the Tribeswomen but they will be pleased that despite the absence of the Killimor contingent, who were celebrating All-Ireland glory last weekend, they managed to dig out a victory when the pressure was on.
Wexford produced a strong second half performance as they put Clare to the sword in Group 1 by 2-16 to 0-4 at Piercestown on Saturday. Last year’s double champions led by 1-6 to 0-1 at the break, with Katrina Parrock striking for a brilliant individual goal in the 20th minute and Chloe Morey grabbing Clare’s only point from a free.
The Banner failed to score from play and Claire McMahon notched up their three points in the second half from frees. Goalkeeper Susan Vaughan was in outstanding form but Wexford were able to make plenty of changes while Lenny Holohan brought her tally to four points, Evelyn Quigley grabbed a 50th minute goal and Kate Kelly, Ursula Jacob, Una Leacy, Brid Gordon and Josie Dwyer were also on the scoresheet.
Tipperary produced a storming second half comeback but it wasn’t enough to deny Kilkenny, who prevailed by 2-11 to 2-8. Aoife Neary and Michelle Quilty were the goalscorers for the Black and Amber but Ann Downey’s crew left almost left a commanding advantage slip as Sarah Fryday and Deirdre Dunne found the net for the Premier girls.
Claire Grogan finished with six points for Tipperary but with Neary adding four points to her goal and Denise Gaule also slotting three points, the Noresiders just held on.
Cork had a facile 4-20 to 0-4 victory over Dublin. The Leesiders led by 2-8 to 0-2 at the break, with Katriona Mackey hitting 1-3 and SÝle Burns also finding the net. Catriona Power and Ciara Lucey registered Dublin’s first half points but Cork ran riot after the resumption, with Michelle Browne ramming home two goals and Jennifer O’Leary and Gemma O’Connor finishing with seven points between them.
In Division 2, Aoife Lynskey scored 1-4 as Galway overcame Derry by 1-12 to 1-5, while Zoe O’Donoghue’s brace of goals gave Waterford a 2-13 to 2-11 win over Cork, for whom Emer Watson also struck the net on two occasions.
In Division 3, R¾isÝn O’Connell was amongst the goals again, while Siobhßn Hurley and Susie O’Carroll scored 11 points between them as Kildare maintained their good form with a 1-13 to 0-4 victory over Dublin.