by Kevin Egan
Cork, Tipperary and Waterford all secured their progression to the knockout stages of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship this afternoon when they secured home wins at the expense of Meath, Dublin and Clare respectively.
Reigning champions Cork maintained their 100% record when they defeated Meath in Páirc Uí Rinn. The Rebelettes wasted no time in hitting the ground running against Meath, as they soon took control of the game despite conceding the first point to Kristina Troy. They moved 0-8 to 0-3 clear before two goals in four minutes, the first from Ciara McCarthy and the second from Katelynn Hickey, left Meath with a mountain to climb.
Laura Hayes and Cliona Healy were on target with frees to push the gap out to 2-11 to 0-3 at half-time, and while the Royals did manage a goal of their own three minutes in to the second half through Grace Coleman, their attacking forays were few and far between from then on and Cork restricted to them to two further points in the second half.
Manager Paudie Murray went deep into his panel for this game, using only a handful of players who would normally be considered frontline starters, and the hunger to catch the eye of the manager was clear as a young team kept piling on the scores. A third goal from Linda Collins in the 53rd minute sealed what was an emphatic 3-22 to 1-5 victory.
Tipperary edged out Dublin by five points in a hard-fought encounter at The Ragg. In a game where every score was hard-earned, Niamh Treacy put Tipp in front after 30 seconds but then Dublin pushed 0-2 to 0-1 ahead after ten minutes of action. It could have been much more, after Caoimhe Burke pulled down Sinéad Wylde for a penalty, but the Dublin attacker – who was in superb form from frees throughout most of the game – pulled her effort wide of the post.
Tipperary edged in front and two monster scores from Mary Ryan from midfield helped them to lead by 0-7 to 0-4 at half time. They struck another point before the crucial score after 40 minutes set them on a winning path. Grace O’Brien turned over a short Dublin puckout and the ball was worked to Eilish McDonald for the only goal of the game.
Late points from Laura Twomey and Gráinne Quinn kept Dublin it but Cáit Devane finished with 0-5 and McDonald with 1-2 for Tipp, while Caoimhe Burke made a superb late save to deny Wylde and preserve a 1-11 to 0-9 win for the Premier women.
Finally Waterford maintained their recent momentum with a four-point victory against a determined Clare side at Walsh Park. Beth Carton’s freetaking helped the Déise open up a 0-5 to 0-3 advantage after 20 minutes. The sides shared the next four points before a goal by Carton put Waterford 1-7 to 0-5 ahead, the All-Star capitalising on some good build-up play by Sarah Lacey and Orla Hickey.
Orlaith Duggan reduced the deficit further after half time but a Lacey goal after an assist by Carton helped Waterford grab their second goal. Clare hit a purple patch and fired over five points in a row including a sensational long-range effort from Inagh-Kilnamona’s Clare Hehir. This left just a goal separating the sides entering injury time. Waterford calmly kept about their work however and a Fiona Morrissey score settled the home supporters’ nerves and made sure of knockout hurling for the Déise women later this summer.