Kilkenny moved into joint second of the Irish Daily Star National League Division 1 Group 2 by virtue of a stellar display from Denise Gaule in a 1-12 to 1-5 victory over Dublin at Danesfort. The Noresiders move into the slipstream of an unbeaten Cork, who had the weekend off.
A win would have secured a place in the semi-finals for Dublin but despite getting off to the best possible start, after Emma Flanagan’s third minute scrambled goal, they were unable to bag the desired result. Instead Gaule scored nine points, including four from play, to ensure a home victory.
Kilkenny responded to Flanagan’s strike with a goal and four points on the trot. Michelle Quilty provided the opening point and Gaule followed up with three to secure the lead by the 16th minute. Quilty blasted a shot to the net a minute later having taken a pass from Aisling Dunphy on the 20m line and it was 1-5 to 1-1 at half time.
Ann Dalton landed two points at the beginning of the second half, including a monstrous effort from 65m out but when Dublin responded with three of their own, via Flanagan and two Ali Maguire frees, it was still only a three-point game. Louise O’Hara only registered a point from a penalty though and Kilkenny showed their experience in closing out the game as Gaule slotted four points in the final 10 minutes to seal the positive result.
Offaly put up a brave battle but their hopes were extinguished by Galway, who are in contention with Limerick and Wexford to emerge from Group 1. Ailish O’Reilly was unstoppable for the westerners at Birr’s St Brendan’s Park, scoring a goal and five points from play in the 1-13 to 3-5 victory.
Siobhan Flannery gave the home team an early lead but O’Reilly equalised and then finished off a five-player move to hand-pass to the Offaly net. The Faithful rebounded though when the magnificent centre-back, Michaela Morkan sent a long delivery downfield that eluded the Galway defence and Tina Hannon provided the finishing touch. Points from Ann Marie Starr and O’Reilly made it 1-5 to 1-3 at half time.
A couple of frees from Niamh McGrath stretched Galway’s lead but Offaly pounced for two goals from substitute Cailin Fitzgerald and Niamh Larkin, to lead by 3-3 to 1-8 with 40 minutes elapsed.
Offaly still held that one-point lead entering the last five minutes but Galway dug deep to snatch it. McGrath hit the equaliser and Niamh Kilkenny put them in front with a long-range point before Jessie Gill marked her second brief appearance back at this level after an horrific run of injuries and having a baby, to complete the scoring.
Wexford kept their hopes alive with a second home victory of the campaign. Tipperary were the victims this time as the Slaneysiders, still without their Oulart-The Ballagh contingent, overcame a four-point interval deficit to collect the vital two points in Blackwater.
Two Megan Ryan goals and a trio of points by Cait Devane eased the visitors ahead at half time. Eimear O’Connor burst through from midfield for the home team’s goal, a strike that kept them in the contest trailing by 2-5 to 1-4 at the change of ends.
With O’Connor, the Bolger twins, Linda and Lisa, and Katrina Parrock combining well in the second half, Wexford put a string of scores together. Linda Bolger notched up six points and Brid Gordon a pair as Wexford eventually pulled clear to win 1-15 to 2-7.
It was The Chloe Morey Show in Owenbeg as the Sixmilebridge markswoman clocked up two goals and nine points in Clare’s 3-13 to 1-5 success over Derry. It was the Bannerwomen’s first win of the campaign and Morey’s first-half goal set them up nicely as they went in at the break leading by 1-8 to 0-4.
She landed another early in the second half and though Mary Kelly did raise a green flag for the hosts, Clare were always in command. Fiona Lafferty pounced for the third goal to cement the verdict and set up a crunch tie with Kilkenny in two weeks.