By Daragh Ó Conchúir
CORK made it four wins from four in Group 2 of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship with a 1-13 to 0-11 win over Offaly at St Brendan’s Park but manager Paudie Murray categorised it as their poorest performance of the campaign.
Last year’s beaten finalists must now await the final round of matches next week as well as the quarter-finals before returning to action in the semi-final on August 19.
Murray will be hoping that his players get through a series of club championship games that gets under way today before knuckling down in preparation for an encounter that he insists they will have to be much better for than they were against a stubborn Offaly.
The St Finbarr’s clubman revealed that All-Ireland champions Kilkenny and Galway had representatives in attendance in Birr to run the rule over the Leesiders and maintained that they would not have seen anything to worry them.
“First of all I’m happy with the win” said Murray on Red FM. “The negative would be that we never really brought our level of intensity or workrate to today’s game to compare with the first three games.
“But in defence of the girls, we had qualified, so today’s result was irrelevant in one way so ‘twas hard to get yourself up for it. I know Galway and Kilkenny were there to watch today and I’d say they went home happy with what they saw.
“We just never got into gear compared to our first three games. Offaly were going to be a tough test anyway. The wind was a factor too.”
Niamh McCarthy and Méabh Cahalane missed out though Murray stated that their absences were largely precautionary. On the plus side of the leger, Julia White and Eimear O’Sullivan returned. Murray is crossing his fingers for a clean bill of health between now and the semi-final.
“You just hope everyone comes through the club championship and that gives us three-and-a-half, four weeks of intense training. We’ve really got to up it to have a chance in the semi-final because certainly today’s display will not do. So there’s a lot of work to do.”
Offaly, who had Siobhán Flannery (0-6) in fine form, made good use of the elements in the first half and were good value for a four-point lead but a Hannah Looney goal, followed by a couple of points from Katrina Mackey made it 1-6 to 0-8 in favour of the Leesiders at half time.
Aoife Murray was forced into a couple of smart stops to keep the hosts at bay but Cork, who had Ashling Thompson and Katrina Mackey looking sharp, finished strongly with six of the last seven points to retain their 100% record.
The second half introduction of Chloe Foxe proved significant at Innovate Wexford Park as she weighed in with 1-2 to edge the home side to a 2-12 to 2-7 win over Tipperary that moves them into second and in pole position for a quarter-final berth, though all four teams are still in contention.
Úna Leacy did the damage in the first half with a goal and two points but Cáit Devane ensured that Tipp were still in touch at the interval, trailing by 1-5 to 0-4.
Two pointed frees from Linda Bolger opened up a six-point gap but the visitors roared back into proceedings with two goals in three minutes from Orla O’Dwyer and Ereena Fryday to make it 1-7 to 2-4.
Matty Flynn-O’Connor and John Kelly sent Foxe into the fray and the dividend was immediate. The St Martin’s teenager converted a free immediately and O’Dwyer equalised but Foxe pounced for a goal in the 44th minute to give Wexford a lead they would never give up. They pulled clear with late points from Stacey and Shelley Kehoe, Foxe and Joanne Dillon before Devane struck two late points for Tipp to leave.