By Daragh Ó Conchúir
CATHAL MURRAY was a contented figure at Kenny Park in Athenry yesterday, after watching his Galway outfit defeat Limerick by 2-12 to 1-10 and almost assure themselves of a place in the Quarter-Finals of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship.
The result sees the Tribeswomen jump their neighbours into second in Group 1 on score difference, and while Wexford can still join them, they would need heavy-scoring wins in their remaining ties against Galway and Offaly to snatch a last-six berth.
Ailish O’Reilly was the start of the show with two goals and four points, the goals in each half keeping a gritty Limerick at bay.
Murray has had a big impact since taking over the reins at Galway after last year’s National League and oversaw the Maroons’ victory over Kilkenny in this year’s League Final.
He saw plenty to inform upcoming training sessions as his crew lacked economy and gave away too many frees, and though a bit of rustiness might have contributed to that, the most important aspect of the day for him was the result.
“We didn’t seem to be the sharpest match-wise but Limerick are always going to be a good test” said Murray.
“There’s a lot of the performance we wouldn’t be happy with but it was very important to get the win to try make sure we get second in the group.
“The goals were probably the difference. We got the two goals. Ailish is flying in fairness. Anytime we got the ball into the full-forward line we looked dangerous but we probably didn’t finish enough. It was six chances out of 15 created that we took and that’s never going to be good enough at this level and it’s something we have to work on.
“Our discipline was poor. We gave away 20 fouls in the game which is way too high. It had nothing to do with the referee. We were giving away stupid frees, especially the use of the hurley was very poor. It’s another thing we have to work on.
“It’s not like us and I suppose when you haven’t played in three weeks, little things like that creep in.”
Niamh Mulcahy goaled in injury time to bring her tally to 1-7 but once O’Reilly bagged her first goal in the 18th minute to give her side the lead, the result was rarely in doubt.
On Saturday, Cork, Waterford and Tipperary all secured their progression to the knockout stages when they secured home wins at the expense of Meath, Clare and Dublin respectively.
Goals from Ciara McCarthy, Katelynn Hickey and Linda Collins were among the highlights for Cork as they handed Meath a 3-22 to 1-5 defeat at Páirc Uí Rinn, Grace Coleman raising the green flag for the visitors, who must beat Tipperary next week to have any chance of avoiding a relegation play-off.
Mary Ryan hit two monstrous points in the first half, Cáit Devane shot five points and Eilish McDonald maintained her goalscoring form with a second-half major for Tipperary to get the better of Dublin by 1-11 to 0-9.
Dublin needed a win to keep their hopes of progressing alive and the same applied to Clare, but they were unable to get the better of Waterford, despite hitting five points in a row in the second half, including a wondrous effort by Clare Hehir.
Beth Carton goaled in the first half and then provided the assist for Sarah Lacey in the second. When the Bannerwomen got it back to three points late on, Fiona Morrissey hit the target to ease Déise nerves and cement the 2-10 to 0-12 victory.