by Daragh Ó Conchúir
BILL MULLANEY is pleased that his Tipperary outfit has full points from their first two outings in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship but knows that there is much to work on, as they almost blew a very big lead and needed a Mairéad Campion goal to snatch a 1-14 to 2-8 win over Wexford at Innovate Wexford Park.
Cáit Devane was on fire as Tipp scored the first nine points of the game and appeared to be cruising to victory.
Martin Carey rejigged his Wexford set-up and it had the desired effect, with a Joanne Dillon giving them hope.
They actually hit the front with the finish line looming but Campion’s strike rescued it for the Premier.
“We were coming home yesterday and we were delighted with the win and then we didn’t know if we were happy with the performance overall” admitted Mullaney.
“It was brilliant, we dug it out, we came through a real test of character to do that in Wexford, but we probably shouldn’t have let ourselves be in that position at that stage of the game.
“You have to credit the girls. They worked incredibly hard. They themselves on the pitch, in the last five or six minutes when it was really going away from them, grabbed it by the scruff of the neck. We got the equaliser and then they drove on again.
Mullaney continued: “It looked like it was going to be one-way traffic and we were going to run out comfortable winners. But Wexford reset themselves and played two deep. And then I think, maybe, we might have taken our foot off the pedal a small bit and the momentum switched very quickly.
“I do think as well, and people might be giving out when I say this, but I think the referee (Liz Dempsey) had a bit to do with it. There was no dirty play and I thought she handed out very soft yellow cards against us and that took the puff out of the girls. We became very cautious and we stood off a bit, afraid to be as committed.
“But having said that, we’re delighted. We know we have a lot to work to do and we’re meeting the All-Ireland champions in two weeks. We know how hard the next task is.
“But with two wins from two games, we’re delighted to have them on the board and we can get ready, prepare hard and train for Cork for two weeks.”
Cork leapfrogged over Tipperary on top of Group 2 22ith a 4-15 to 2-3 victory over Dublin at Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday. The All-Ireland champions led by 2-6 to 1-3 at half time, but goals either end of the short whistle took the wind out of the visitors' sails.
Katrina Mackey and Orla Began exchanged goals in a competitive opening period but those strikes by Linda Collins and Orla Cronin were crucial.
Ashling Thompson, Cronin, Pamela Mackey, Chloe Sigerson and the eye-catching Lauren Homan all struck points as Cork drove forward in waves. All-Ireland hero, Julia White added goal number four and though there was time for Began to bag her second major, it was of statistical interest only.
In Saturday’s other Group 2 clash, Siobhán Flannery scored 2-9 as Offaly claimed their first triumph of the campaign by 3-11 to 0-9 over Meath at St Brendan’s Park, Birr.
Mike Wall’s charges led by 1-7 to 0-4 at the break, after Flannery goaled five minutes in. Jane Dolan kept Meath in touch but goals from Flannery and Linda Sullivan maintained a healthy advantage with goals – the latter’s a particularly eye-catching score.
With Flannery’s deadly striking from dead balls another feature, victory over last year’s Intermediate champions was assured.