By Jackie Cahill
National League champions Kilkenny completed their Gala All-Ireland Senior Camogie campaign with a comfortable win against hosts Dublin at Ballyboden on Sunday afternoon.
Kilkenny collected a third victory from six outings but it was not enough to secure a coveted place in the last four of the competition as Wexford and Tipperary had booked their places in the semi-finals on Saturday, joining already-qualified Galway and Cork.
Although Kilkenny’s game was effectively a ‘dead rubber’, the Cats still showed plenty of appetite and they will look to finish their season on a high when they face Dublin again on 16 August in the Leinster final.
Playing against the breeze, Kilkenny still managed to open up a 2-04 to 0-00 advantage after just 20 minutes, the goals supplied by the excellent Aoife Neary after seven minutes and Elaine Aylward four minutes later.
At half-time, Kilkenny led by 2-04 to 0-02 but Dublin showed good battling qualities and hit back with a goal from Louise O’Hara.
The visitors responded with some excellent scores from Marie Dargan, Ann Dalton and SinÚad Millea but the introduction of Aisling Jordan injected some life into the Dublin challenge and she scored two nice points from play.
However, that brace of scores provided only brief respite for the Sky Blues as Neary’s second goal and a late strike from Anna Farrell put an impressive gloss on the scoreline for Kilkenny.
Neary finished as Kilkenny’s top scorer with 2-01 while Louise O’Hara was Dublin’s outstanding forward with a 1-02 haul.
Kilkenny also had fine performances from Kelly Ann Cottrell and goalkeeper Catriona Ryan while Dublin’s best performer on the day was right half-back Andrea Fitzpatrick.