Niamh McGrath came off the bench to edge Galway over the line but the League champions were given the fright of their lives by Offaly before snatching a 1-11 to 1-8 victory in the Liberty Insurance senior camogie championship at St Brendan’s Park, Birr.
Tony Ward opted not to risk McGrath from the start due to injury and she was replaced in the starting line-up by Sarsfields clubmate, Maria Cooney. Cooney began brilliantly and scored three points from play in the first half.
Siobhan Flannery was Offaly’s key scoring contributor with six pointed frees but Aoife Kelly did provide one good point from play as well in that opening period but an injury-time goal by Mollie Dunne gave Galway the upper hand with a 1-5 to 0-4 lead having played into the wind.
Niamh Kilkenny stretched the margin to five points but Tina Hannon’s goal, after her first effort had been saved by Susan Earner, put the tie back in the melting pot. Flannery slotted three frees and it was 1-7 apiece at the three-quarter mark.
It was time for McGrath to enter the fray and she added three frees to a Jessica Gill point from play as the Tribeswomen finished strongly. There was late drama though as Flannery made it a three-point game from a free and was given a chance to snatch a draw, but her 20m free was saved.
In the absence of Úna Leacy and Ursula Jacob, Kate Kelly showed her leadership with a brilliant performance as Wexford also maintained their flawless record thanks to a 3-9 to 0-11 victory over Limerick at Innovate Wexford Park.
Kelly finished with 2-6, including two second half goals to deny Limerick, who had Caoimhe Costelloe in fine form at midfield alongside Niamh Mulchay. Costelloe scored four points while Mulcahy registered five.
Limerick led by 0-5 to 0-4 at the end of a tight first half but Wexford stormed out of the traps with the wind at their backs in the second half, with Kelly putting a goal and two points on the board in the matter of minutes. Brid Gordon found the net later on and when Kelly was fouled with time almost up, the veteran picked herself up off the sod to convert the penalty.
Tipperary just held off a rampaging Dublin to bag their second win of the campaign on a 1-13 to 2-9 scoreline at O’Moore Park. Cait Devane scored nine first-half points as Tipperary went in at half time leading by 0-11 to 0-4.
Dublin used the wind to good effect in the second period with Siobhan Kehoe and Ali Maguire amongst the scorers. The key scores were the goals from Sarah O’Donovan and the ageless Louise O’Hara but crucially Gemma Grace grabbed a major for Tipperary that enabled them to keep their noses in front.
Meanwhile, Kilkenny showcased their massive scoring power as the came away from Swatragh with an 8-22 to 2-10 win against Derry. The hosts began well with three points from Karen Kielt and the sides were level at 0-4 apiece after 12 minutes.
From the time Denise Gaule got her first goal in the 14th minute, there was no way back for the Oak Leafers though. Katie Power and Gaule added goals in the space of two minutes and there was still time for Michelle Quilty, Edel Maher and Miriam Walsh to find the Derry net before the interval.
It was 6-11 to 0-5 at the change of ends, and Walsh and Power added goals in the second period. Derry were much improved however as Mary Kelly and Kielt added excellent goals, with the latter bringing her tally to 1-8.