Kilkenny survived a late Wexford rally to advance from their Irish Daily Star Camogie League Division 1 semi-final in Waterford by 2-7 to 1-7 writes Daragh Ó Conchúir
Kilkenny held the upper hand in the opening period, at the end of which they led by 1-5 to 0-3. They laid the platform for that margin by getting off to a lightning start. Denise Gaule opened the scoring in the first minute from a free after Colette Dormer fouled and followed up with scores from a 45 and 50m free to make it 0-3 to 0-0 after just four minutes.
Ursula Jacob got Wexford’s first point from a free, after a foul on Fiona Kavanagh but Kilkenny’s response was immediate, with Michelle Quilty goaling from 13m in the sixth minute. When Gaule slotted her fourth point, from a 45, it was 1-4 to 0-1.
The rate of scoring slowed thereafter as Wexford’s defensive unit got to grips with their opponents. Jacob (free) and Gaule (45) exchanged points before Katrina Parrock got Wexford’s first point from play with a terrific strike from 45m into the wind to bring them to within five at the change of ends.
Substitute Fiona Rochford made it four early in the second half but the magnificent Ann Dalton hit a wonder score for the Noresiders and Leanne Fennelly followed up.
Jacob pointed from another free but then came the game’s critical score, as substitute Megan Farrell – who wasn’t even listed in the match programme – scrambled the sliotar over the line for Kilkenny’s second goal. That opened up a 2-7 to 0-5 lead and Kilkenny appeared to be cruising, with eight minutes remaining.
Jacob hit a point from a free before the excellent Parrock blasted a goal from 13m in the 54th minute. It was the second minute of injury time before Wexford could reduce the gap to a goal though, when Jacob elected to tap a 20m free over the bar.
There were five more minutes of added time and Wexford poured forward in search of an equalising major but the Kilkenny defence held firm. The Black and Ambers must now wait for Saturday's second semi-final between champions Cork and Clare to see who they play in the decider.
Cork will play Down in the Division 2 final, after beating Laois by 2-6 to 0-8 at The Ragg, while Down overcame Meath 0-14 to 1-9 in Inniskeen. Jessica Hennigan and Amanda O’Regan were the goalscorers for the Leesiders, with Elaine O’Mahoney the leading scorer for a gritty Laois, notching up eight points.
Westmeath will play Dublin in the Division 3 final, after the Lakesiders overcame Armagh in Drogheda by 1-10 to 0-8. On Saturday, Dublin built on a two-point interval lead to beat Roscommon 2-12 to 2-4 in Tullamore.
Kerry and Limerick will cross swords for the Division 4 honours. Kerry beat Dublin 0-11 to 0-8 at The Ragg while Limerick prevailed by 3-9 to 1-9 against Tyrone.