A strong first half display powered Wexford to National League Division One success over Limerick at Bunclody yesterday. In their first match of the 2009 campaign, the All Ireland champions of two years ago got off to a blistering start with full forward Michelle Hearne back after a 12 month absence, bagging two excellent goals, while Ursula Jacob playing at corner forward helped herself to 1-1.
The Slaneysiders were clearly the dominant force in that opening 30 minutes, but credit to Limerick they stayed in touch with Niamh Mulcahy pointing from placed balls. White flags also arrived from Moira Dooley, Sinead McAuliffe and Catriona Debhal before Joanne Clifford netted towards the end. After shipping a substantial beating from Galway last weekend, and despite being at the wrong end of a 3-7 to 1-6 score this time, manger Phelim Macken will have been much happier with this result.
Elsewhere, at Lattin Cullen, Tipperary gathered their second set of points with a comfortable victory over Dublin, 2-13 to 1-6. The Premier girls will be pleased with their performances to date, and while the Dubs put it up to them for the first quarter, once goals arrived from Joanne Ryan and Emily Hayden it put the home side into a commanding interval position of 2-5 to 0-2.
Dublin who lost midfielder Eimear Brannigan to injury before the game, pulled a goal back in the fourth quarter, but with the Tipperary defence rock solid – the half back trio of Julie McGrath, Trish O’Halloran and Aine Mulcahy in particular impressive – there were very few opportunities for Dublin to narrow the gap.
Clare were at home to Kilkenny, however, it was the Cats who walked away with the honours following a 1-14 to 0-11 triumph. The teams were level at 0-5 apiece at the changeover however the Black and Amber came out for the second half in determined mood. Ann Dalton tallied eight points (all from placed balls), whilst the goal came from the stick of Deirdre Delaney.
In spite of Roisin McMahon’s contribution of nine points for Clare, the Banner ladies, who are making great strides at the top level, still had to settle for second best. Their remaining tie is away to Dublin in two weeks time.
In the All Ireland senior A colleges final at Drom & Inch, St Brigid’s Callan retained the title with a hard-fought 1-11 to 1-6 win over Portumna. A personal total of 1-9 from outstanding centre forward Denise Gaule proved crucial.
Credit to Portumna though, who went in at the break 0-5 to 0-3 ahead, and while they remained in contention into the second half, the Kilkenny side aided by a strong breeze took over in the final quarter.
They also found it difficult to break down resolute goalkeeper Laura Walker who had a marvellous hour for St Brigid’s. Portumna had goal chances in the opening half, but were unable to get past the number one. It took a great effort from Tara Ruttledge to finally beat her.
The B final in Rathoath was a highly entertaining game with Blackwater CS coming out on top, 4-5 to 3-4 against St MacNissis’s Garron Tower. Last year’s All Ireland C victors have given camogie a major fillip in Wateford. The all-important goals coming from Michelle Tobin, Caitriona McGlone, Carole McCarthy and Aoife Hannon.
This was the second defeat the Antrim team has endured against Lismore – having met in last year’s All Ireland C semi-final. And while they matched the southern girls for most of the hour, and had green flags from Ashling Ward (twice) and Tessa McDonnell, they couldn’t contain the all-round balance of Blackwater CS.
St Colm’s Draperstown needed extra time to overcome Grennan College, Thomastown, also in Ratoath. After 80 minutes of intense camogie, just one point decided the outcome, 1-7 to 0-9. Kelly Marie Hegarty netted for St Colm’s, while Kelly Hamilton (four), Aine Lannon (three) and Sinead Stapleton (two) points just fell short for Thomastown.