KATRINA Mackey scored six points to confirm their spot in the Division 1 semi-finals of the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League when making it four out of four by trouncing a strangely lifeless Wexford 0-16 to 0-4 at Cork IT.
The Leesiders set the tone in the first half, Katrina Mackey, Niamh McCarthy and Orla Cronin among the scorers as they galloped into a 0-8 to 0-1 lead by the short whistle.
Expectations that the visitors would respond after the resumption were not met as Cork continued to pound away, with McCarthy, Gemma O’Connor, Mackey and Cronin keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
Amy O’Connor was denied a goal by a full-length dive to her left by Mags D’Arcy and though Wexford introduced the legendary Leacy siblings, Mary and Úna, and the latter did manage to get on the scoresheet, the game was over by that juncture.
Apart from Mackey, newcomer McCarthy continued the positive impression she has created since being introduced this year, totting up three points. In all, the Rebels had seven different scorers and they look intent on making a bold bid for honours this year.
Kilkenny are second in Group 1 after defeating Waterford 2-12 to 0-14 in a humdinger at Carriganore. Sensational teenager Beth Carton shot three of her 13 points as the hosts moved 0-4 to 0-1 ahead but a Miriam Walsh goal brought the champions back into it and a couple of points from Julieann Malone helped them into a 1-5 to 0-5 lead at the break.
It was nip and tuck for most of the second half, Carton keeping Waterford in touch primarily from placed balls, but Kilkenny were able to introduce a player of the calibre of All-Ireland winning captain Michelle Quilty, who didn’t take long to get on the scoresheet.
Denise Gaule’s goal decided the tie, giving Kilkenny enough breathing space to hold off their neighbours, who scored the last three points in a spirited late rally.
Tipperary followed up their victory over Wexford last weekend with another one-point success, this time against a Dublin team that while still looking to get off the mark, are clearly improving.
Miriam Campion shot the winner at the St Patrick's College grounds in Drumcondra, her point a minute into injury time her side’s first score for a quarter of an hour, when she goaled to put five points between the sides. An Ali Maguire goal helped the Dubs reel Tipp in but they were left broken-hearted by Campion’s late intervention.
In Group 2, Limerick finished strongly to deny Clare 1-13 to 1-12 in Clonlara, and ensure their place in the top four along with Galway, who had the weekend off. Regan Conway’s goal had given the home side a tremendous boost and with Chloe Morey firing eight points, they went very close to upsetting the odds.
Limerick have their own prodigious markswoman in Niamh Mulcahy and the Ahane ace accumulated seven points. It was Rebecca Delee’s goal in the final quarter that was the significant contribution however, and though Morey shot the last two points, Clare could not find an equaliser.
The final tie featured teams that were both looking to break their duck and it was Offaly who edged a 2-8 to 2-6 decision over Meath in Dunganny. Debbie Flynn and Siobhan Flannery registered 1-3 each and that was enough to keep Offaly’s noses in front, despite the contributions of Jane Dolan, who scored four points for Meath, and goalscorers Beverly Lynch and Megan Thynne.
In Division 2, Eleanor Treacy shot seven points as Carlow overcame Clare 0-9 to 0-6. They now move level at the top of Group 1 with Derry and Kilkenny, after the Oak Leafers emerged victorious against the Noresiders by 2-10 to 2-7.
Like their seniors, Cork maintained their 100% record and booked a spot in the penultimate stages by defeating Kildare 1-12 to 1-8. Melissa Lyons goaled for the Lilywhites and Siobhán Hurley shot four points but Cork had more firepower, Keeva McCarthy notching up five points and Claire Shine – the Republic of Ireland soccer international who is back in the fold after bringing her stint with Glasgow Celtic in Scotland to an end – weighed in with a brace.
Galway and Westmeath also had important wins, defeating Armagh (2-6 to 2-4) and Antrim (1-9 to 1-7) respectively.
Meanwhile, Kerry joined Dublin in Division 3's last four with another eye-catching performance, this time in accounting for Clare 1-16 to 1-4. There were stars all over the field for the Kingdom, while the ultra-reliable Patrice Diggin slotted four points and Noreta Casey 1-1. The excellent Keelin Lyons shot 1-3 for the Bannerwomen.
Perhaps the most important tie in the division though was that between Roscommon and Tyrone and it was the Rossies who registered their first win of the campaign, 2-6 to 0-5. Chloe White Lennon and Michaela Fallon grabbed the goals that made the difference and moved the winners into third.