Compiled by Daragh Ó Conchúir
Waterford welcomed back some of their All-Ireland-winning Gailltír contingent just six days after celebrating Croke Park glory and that was significant as they secured the first win of the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues Division 1 campaign under the management of Fergal O’Brien by 2-11 to 1-11 over Clare in Cratloe.
Ciara Jackman certainly showed no ill effects from her club activities and made a vital save from Áine O’Loughlin in the 42nd minute, when Clare were in the throes of a fightback. A goal then would have brought the sides level and all the momentum would have been with the hosts.
Instead, Jackman’s stop took some of the air out of Ger O’Connell’s crew and Waterford showed good defensive solidity in the final quarter to maintain their advantage.
Clare had gone into the game with two wins from two games, including a scintillating defeat of Kilkenny, but this loss now throws Group 1 wide open, with only the winner progressing to the Final.
The Bannerwomen remain in contention along with the Cats and Cork, who have won their only game to date. Waterford retain very slim hopes but would need a lot of results to go their way.
Not for the first time, Beth Carton was the primary scoregetter for Waterford, contributing 1-9, while fellow All-Stars Lorraine Bray and Niamh Rockett were also on target.
The visitors laid the foundation for their triumph in the first half, although they fell behind by two points early on, a brace from Eimear Kelly, who finished six points, making it 0-4 to 0-2.
Carton and Sarah Lucey rocked the saffron and blue supporters however with goals, either side of a Carton free and the complexion of the tie had changed completely, making it 2-8 to 0-7 at the short whistle.
Clare had the perfect start to the second half though with a goal from Aoife Power and Kelly put that goal between them when Jackman made her important save. Carton added a couple of points after that to settle Waterford once more and they saw it out from there.