And just like that, we are into the penultimate round of Division 1A of the Very Camogie League.
Cork are three from three and put that record on the line against old rivals Kilkenny at UPMC Nowlan Park on Sunday.
Tipperary are ahead of Galway in the Rebels’ slipstream by virtue of a far superior scoring difference, and they play host to Clare at The Ragg on Saturday in a bid to try maintain that position, with the defending champions going up against relegation-threatened Dublin at Duggan Park.
VERY CAMOGIE LEAGUE DIVISION 1A
SATURDAY, MARCH 18TH
Galway v Dublin, Duggan Park, 2pm
Referee: Andy Larkin (Cork)
It’s not getting any easier for Dublin, who are still looking to get on the board heading into the fourth round. Gerry McQuaid inherited the job as manager after initially being part of the coaching staff and the coach of Wexford’s three-in-a-row winners from 2010-2012 has overseen steady improvements even in defeat, Aisling Maher showing fantastic leadership along the way.
They need another win to avoid relegation but face a stiff task against the defending champions, who bounced back well from an opening-round defeat to Tipperary by winning twice, with Carrie Dolan and new skipper Shauna Healy among the standard-bearers for Cathal Murray’s charges as they look to maintain the momentum they’ve built up to their title defence.
Tipperary v Clare, The Ragg, 2pm
Referee: Liz Dempsey (Kilkenny)
These two teams made an immediate splash when claiming the scalps of Galway and Kilkenny respectively in the first round. Clare have been brought back down to earth since, though they will be pleased with how much more competitive they were against Galway than Cork, albeit that the margin of defeat against the Leesiders might have been a little harsh.
Tipp gave Cork far more to think about however, even though they eventually had to give way but there was only two points in it and there was no way they were flattered by that. That was their first loss of the campaign for a squad that has been the most likely to break the top three hegemony in recent years. They need a win here to keep their League final hopes alive.
SUNDAY, MARCH 19TH
Kilkenny v Cork, UPMC Nowlan Park, 11.30am
Referee: John Dermody (Westmeath)
Live stream on https://www.youtube.com/@OfficialCamogie/streams
These teams have entertained us time and again over the years and while some players might be new to the experience, there are many involved with countless war stories to tell.
A win here will cement the Rebels’ final berth, having been beaten in the decider last year by Galway as well as in the All-Ireland final subsequently by the Cats. They are scoring highly, with Amy O’Connor in particular keeping umpires busy.
Defeat for the home team would leave them with the spectre of relegation hanging over them still so there is plenty at stake here. But then it’s Cork v Kilkenny, so plus ça change.