By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Galway and Kilkenny were victorious today (Sunday March 11th) in their respective Irish Daily Star National Camogie League Division 1 ties, defeating Cork and Clare in impressive fashion.
The Galway-Cork clash took place in Martinstown, Co Limerick, with the Leesiders missing some key players, including Briege Corkery and Anna Geary. As a result, they were largely reliant on Jennifer O’Leary, who scored six points, and Katrina Mackey, who contributed their remaining four.
By contrast, Galway had eight different scorers, while Sarah Dervan gave an eye-catching performance from centre-back.
Jessica Gill was also back in the fold and looking good, while Veronica Curtin showed plenty of dash from centre-forward.
It is early days for the Tribeswomen, and it must be acknowledged that Cork were not at full strength but this was a good performance as they look to go one step further than last year, when they lost the Irish Daily Star National League final at Semple Stadium.
Cork did begin pretty well and the sides were level four times in the first 23 minutes, at which stage it was 0-5 apiece.
But with Aislinn Connolly helping to bring her personal tally to six points with three fine scores, Galway outscored their opponents by 0-6 to 0-1 before the interval to lead by 0-11 to 0-6.
The game was over by the ninth minute, when Brenda Hanney goaled after being sent clear by Tara Ruttledge, giving Cork goalkeeper, Aoife Murray no chance. Murray had done well to deflect a Curtin shot over the bar just prior to that but with a nine-point margin, there was no way back for Cork.
They kept fighting hard, with Mackey and O’Leary accurate from frees but scores from Gill and a fine effort from distance by Noreen Coen ensured a comfortable 1-16 to 0-10 success for Galway.
Kilkenny recovered from their opening round defeat to Cork by producing a spirited second half performance to record their first win.
A Chloe Morey goal just before the interval, on a rebound from a Catriona Ryan save, pushed Clare 1-4 to 0-2 in front at the break and it was looking bad for the Noresiders.
Aoife Neary was in brilliant form after the restart though and she fired over point after to point to bring her final tally to nine, although she will have been disappointed to send a penalty over the crossbar.
Nevertheless, her display, as well as the introduction of Ashbourne Cup-winning captain, Katie Power in the second half, helped prompt a remarkable turnaround that saw Clare failing to score after the resumption as Kilkenny prevailed 0-11 to 1-4.
Meanwhile, in Division 2, Aoife Shinnors pointed a free from 70 yards out and tight on the sideline to snatch victory for Tipperary over Kilkenny. The Black and Ambers thought they had secured a share of the spoils after drawing level with a late scrambled goal but Shinnors’ magnificent score gave the Premier girls a 1-11 to 2-7 victory.
There was also a notable win for Meath as they overcame Cork by 0-17 to 1-7.