Compiled by Kevin Egan
Cork sit on top of Division 1A of the Very Camogie League after this afternoon’s series of games, but Matthew Twomey’s side was pushed to the wire by Tipperary at The Ragg, the first time this year that serious questions were asked of last year’s league and All-Ireland finalists.
It was Tipperary who started the sharper of the two Munster rivals, as they edged 0-4 to 0-2 in front. Nenagh’s Grace O’Brien was in prolific form in the early stages as she fired over three early points from play, with Eimear McGrath adding another. Amy O’Connor and Chloe Sigerson (free) hit back for the Rebels.
The contest shifted in the Rebels’ favour when Orlaith Cahalane produced a mesmerising solo run to get beyond the Tipp defence before rifling low in to the bottom left corner of the net and they pushed on from there, with O’Connor and Fiona Keating both working the scoreboard as Cork moved 1-8 to 0-7 ahead at the break.
O’Brien continued to lead the line brilliantly up front for Tipperary and she fired in a quickfire 1-1 at the beginning of the final period to leave the sides deadlocked, Róisín Howard finding a deft pass to pick out O’Brien.
These two sides, both unbeaten before today, were level at 1-8, 1-9 and 1-10 apiece before Cork struck two in a row with Emma Murphy grabbing the pick of the pair. Despite their best efforts, Tipp were unable to regain parity with Keating grabbing the final score of the game in the 67th minute to seal a crucial 1-14 to 1-12 win for Cork.
All-Ireland champions Kilkenny breathed some life into their ailing hopes of squeezing into the top two and reaching a league final by overcoming Dublin by 0-17 to 0-11 at Parnell Park.
With 54 minutes gone, Kilkenny’s lead was down to just three points, 0-14 to 0-11, after an Aisling Maher score for the Dubs opened the door to a late smash and grab finish from Gerry McQuaid’s charges, but Kilkenny finished strongly with the last three points of the tie.
Maher produced a terrific display for the beaten side in racking up a personal tally of nine points but Dublin struggled to break down a resolute Kilkenny rearguard in the opening half. Maher fired in all four of her side’s points in the first 30 minutes, just one of those coming from play. Kilkenny meanwhile were able to call upon the reliable Denise Gaule, who clocked up seven points, to punish any indiscretions, with 0-3 from Laura Murphy helping the Cats lead 0-9 to 0-4 at the break.
Although Asha McHardy and Gaule helped Kilkenny keep Dublin at arm’s length, Aisling O’Neill and Maher kept the home side in the hunt, ensuring a tight finish.
In the west coast derby at Kilbeacanty, seven points off the stick of Carrie Dolan and a Shannon Corcoran goal proved decisive as Galway secured a 1-14 to 0-13 win over Clare, despite a strong second half fightback from the Banner.
Galway led 1-9 to 0-4 at the break after plundering 1-4 without reply in the final 10 minutes of the opening half. Dolan grabbed four first half points for Galway, three from frees, as last year’s All-Ireland semi-finalists appeared to be in complete control.
Even though Clare Hehir and Lorna McNamara hit back for Clare, two Dolan scores kept Galway 1-11 to 0-6 in front, suggesting a comfortable win for the reigning league champions. That didn’t pan out as Clare fought back to get within three of the hosts, with McNamara firing over some important frees as she finished up with nine points. Galway held firm however, Aoife Donohue grabbing the insurance score to seal second successive win for the westerners.
Meanwhile, in Division 1B, Waterford secured a facile 3-24 to 2-6 win over Limerick this afternoon, while their neighbours Wexford completed a double. The senior side picked up a 2-17 to 0-9 win over Down after their intermediates defeated Galway earlier in the afternoon.
Finally, a huge second half performance from Antrim helped them salvage a draw against Offaly in Banagher. The Saffrons came from 2-7 to 1-2 down at the break to salvage a 2-8 each draw.
Very Camogie Leagues
Cork 1-14 Tipperary 1-12
Kilkenny 0-17 Dublin 0-11
Galway 1-14 Clare 0-13
Waterford 3-24 Limerick 2-6
Wexford 2-17 Down 0-9
Offaly 2-8 Antrim 2-8
Meath 2-13 Westmeath 1-6
Kerry 1-11 Cavan 1-2
Laois v Derry POSTPONED
Division 2B (2nd teams)
Galway 1-9 Wexford 1-13
Tipperary 1-8 Kilkenny 3-10
Tyrone 1-9 Kildare 7-11
Armagh 5-12 Mayo 2-5
Wickow 0-4 Roscommon 5-16
Louth 0-4 Carlow 2-17
Division 3B (2nd teams)
Offaly 0-3 Antrim 4-15
Clare 0-17 Limerick 1-3