Offaly and Cork cemented their places in the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland senior camogie championship by virtue of their play-off victories over Kilkenny and Tipperary, who will play Dublin and Clare next Saturday, with the last two quarter-final spots up for grabs.
Not for the first time, it was Elaine Dermody who struck the killer blow for Offaly, her 48th minute goal breaking the Kilkenny resistance on the way to a 2-13 to 1-11 win in Birr.
The hosts got off to a great start with an Arlene Watkins goal after seven minutes but Kilkenny were buoyed by the wind, and the efforts of Katie Power and Miriam Walsh. Power raised a green flag for the Cats who edged their noses in front to lead by 1-6 to 1-5 at half time.
With player of the match, Siobhán Flannery driving them on from midfield, and the half-back line proving irresistible, Offaly edged a point in front when Dermody caught the sliotar, turned and drove a powerful shot to the Kilkenny net. That gave Offaly the crucial daylight and they held out for a deserved win.
There was nothing like the same flow of scores or play in the Cork-Tipp encounter in Ballincollig but it was all about the result for the Rebels against their improving rivals.
Katrina Mackey’s first half goal was the most significant moment in the game, and with Jenny O’Leary adding three points it gave the home side a 1-4 to 0-4 interval lead.
Nicole Walsh provided all Tipperary’s first half scores from frees and she added another brace after the resumption but Cork had the superior artillery up front although goalkeeper, Aoife Murray was forced into making a couple of outstanding saves.
The excellent Mackey brought her personal tally to 1-4 with three lovely points from play. O’Leary and Orla Cotter were amongst those also on the mark to ensure their side’s advancement to the top six on a 1-13 to 0-9 scoreline.
Wexford and Galway await the winners of the two quarter-finals in the semi-finals.
Galway and Tipperary played out a thrilling 1-9 apiece draw in the intermediate championship, while Wexford had far too much firepower in accounting for Wexford 4-12 to 2-5. Derry confirmed their well-being by accounting for Waterford in comfortable fashion, 3-12 to 2-5.
In the premier junior championship there were wins for Down, Meath and Laois, while Westmeath and Cavan took the honours in the junior A championship.
Meanwhile, Galway’s goal threat proved the difference as they edged past Cork to seal a place in the U16A All-Ireland final. Cliodhna Walsh bagged 2-1 while Erica Coen pounced for a brace of goals.
With Ciara Burke supplementing those contributions with four points, not even the splendid of efforts of Linda Collins, who scored 1-4 of her 1-7 from play, and Claire Sexton (0-4) could rescue Cork. It finished Galway 4-9 Cork 1-15.
The Corribsiders must wait to find out who they play after Kilkenny and Dublin played out a cracking 3-11 to 4-8 draw. Aoife Molloy, Ashling O’Leary and Tara O’Flaherty all billowed the Kilkenny net, and with Orla Beagan notching up 1-4, the Dubs recorded an impressive tally.
It fell just short of being a match-winning one though, with the splendid Edel Coonan in scintillating form. The St Martin’s ace scored 2-2 from play, while fellow attacker Jenny Clifford was almost as impressive, firing a goal and two points.
Elsewhere, there were wins in the B championship for Derry, Dublin and Wexford, while Cork and Antrim shared the spoils in their Group 2 encounter.
In round 2 of the C championship, Wicklow, Kildare, Kerry and Armagh were victorious.