Further evidence of the increasing depth of camogie was provided in the latest round of Irish Daily Star Division 1 games, with traditional superpowers Wexford and Galway both beaten in Group 2 writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.
Dublin inflict defeat on Wexford
Dublin and Clare had indicated their potential with improved showings last year but it was the Dubs’ 1-8 to 0-4 that was the headline result.
While Wexford might be short a few players from last year’s All-Ireland winning side, they had beaten Galway in their opening tie.
Martin Lynch’s outfit was second best throughout against the defensively sound hosts though and Alison Maguire’s goal right on half time ensured a fair reflection of Dublin’s superiority, as they led 1-4 to 0-2.
Despite playing into a very strong wind, the Blues maintained the momentum. Laura Twomey was a driving force from midfield and three points from Maguire plus another by Aoife Bulger extended the margin to nine. Bulger almost added a goal, with her shot rocketing off the crossbar.
Dublin had enough in hand regardless though and Ursula Jacob’s two points, including one from a late penalty, were insufficient.
There was no debate about the merit of Clare’s win either, as they came away from Ballinasloe on the right side of a 0-11 to 0-7 scoreline.
The visitors had the wind in the first half but Galway were on level terms at the end of the opening quarter, thanks to three points from Niamh McGrath. Naomi Carroll, excellent midfielder Niamh O’Dea and the flawless free-taker Claire McMahon were on target for Clare.
The Bannerwomen picked it up with four points in three minutes, three of which came from McMahon and they led at the change of ends by 0-7 to 0-4.
Much like Dublin, Clare gave themselves a vital cushion by bursting out of the traps straight after the resumption, despite facing the considerable elements. Four more points, with McMahon again providing three, were crucial in such testing conditions and though Galway registered the last three scores, Clare’s win was never in doubt.
In Group 1, Kilkenny were too strong for Tipperary and emerged successful 2-9 to 1-8 at Semple Stadium. The Kilkenny attack was extremely dangerous throughout but it was a player-of-the-match performance by Leanne Fennelly that ultimately proved the difference.
Fennelly scored 1-3, while Aoife Neary contributed five points, with four coming from frees. Fennelly’s goal came on the stroke of half time to give Kilkenny a 1-5 to 0-3 lead.
The Noresiders couldn’t shake off Tipp, despite their superiority however, with the Premier County’s minor captain, Caoimhe Maher having a positive impact on her introduction.
Michelle Quilty ended hopes of a home victory with a 54th minute goal but Maher confirmed her considerable promise with an injury-time major to leave the margin at four points in the end.
Meanwhile, Derry made history by getting their first top flight victory courtesy of a 2-10 to 1-10 scoreline against Offaly. It was a hard-fought win for the Ulster team at Kevin Lynch Park, Dungiven, making it all the sweeter.
Goals from Áine Kelly and Katie McAnenly were the crucial scores for Derry, while Arlene Watkins contributed four points for Offaly.
In Division 2, Kildare showed their continuing improvement by beating Cork 1-12 to 1-6 at Ballykelly. Susie O'Carroll continued her impressive scoring feats by clocking up 1-6 of that total. Róisín O'Connell and Siobhán Hurley were also on the mark, while the hosts were driven on by inspirational captain, Clodagh Flanagan and Louise Keatley.
Elsewhere, Limerick trounced Wexford 2-12 to 0-4 and Karen Kelly’s goal gave Waterford a 1-8 to 1-6 win over Galway. Meath came out on top against Antrim 2-6 to 1-5.