GALWAY manager Mark Dunne cut a contented figure as his side shook off a sluggish start to record a convincing victory in their opening Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship outing.
The Tribeswomen were coming off a 10-week lay-off since losing the League semi-final to Kilkenny, while Dublin had competed in the Leinster Championship before getting this campaign off to the perfect start by beating Clare last week.
Faye McCarthy ended up as Dublin’s leading scorer with a goal and four points. The major arrived from a long distance free and gave the hosts a six-point advantage at the Parnell’s ground but two goals from Aoife Donohue before half-time nudged Galway ahead.
Ailish O’Reilly helped herself to 11 points while Dunne’s crew curtailed Dublin to three second-half white flags and Rebecca Hennelly goaled from a penalty late on to put the exclamation point on a 3-18 to 1-12 win.
Dunne declared himself unconcerned by the slow start.
“It wasn’t lack of effort” said the Galway supremo. “It’s 10 weeks since we played a game in the League semi-final and you never actually know how that’s gonna effect you mentally until you get out on the pitch. I thought once we settled in and chipped a few scores away, the team started to do what we’ve been training to do. The good side of that is that we took a knock and we came back.”
He agreed that Donohue’s brace of goals before the break were killer blows.
“They were crucial and we always looked like we had a bit of a threat when we got it up there. We were just struggling to get it up there I suppose. It was a bit stop-start at times but it was a perfect time to get them.”
While conscious that there is a long way to go in the competition yet, Dunne was very satisfied with the result.
“It’s great. I suppose we were that eager waiting for it we were over-eager so it’ll be good. You’d expect that should settle us going on from here but it’s only one win. It’s a competitive Championship, it’s a competitive group so there’s a few things we’ve to learn from today but if you can’t enjoy the wins, there’s no point.”
Meanwhile, Chloe Morey reeled off 15 points to give Clare’s Championship hopes a real shot in the arm with a 2-19 to 3-9 win over Waterford at Cusack Park.
Goals from Kate McMahon and Niamh Rockett helped Waterford establish a six-point lead but crucially, that was down to two by the interval (2-5 to 0-9) as Andrea O’Keeffe hit points from play at either end of a brace of converted frees by Morey.
The former All-Star hit the first three scores of the second half to edge Clare ahead but Beth Carton, who scored five points for Waterford, kept the Déise girls in contention until an Áine O’Loughlin goal gave Clare some daylight.
Substitute Becky Kavanagh breached the Banner defences a third time but an Aoife Keane bullet two minutes from time sealed the deal for Patricia O’Grady’s crew.