By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Cork and Tipperary are the only teams with perfect records after two games of an ultra-competitive Division 1A of the Very Camogie League, while All-Ireland champions Kilkenny remain without a point along with Dublin.
The Cats fell to a second straight defeat as long-time rivals Galway eked out a 1-17 to 1-13 victory at UPMC Nowlan Park.
Cathal Murray’s side are the current titleholders but like Kilkenny, had lost their opening game. They made the early running, leading by 0-10 to 0-7 at the interval and doubling their advantage with an Ailish O’Reilly goal two minutes after the resumption.
Asha McHardy popped up with a pair of points however and when Julianne Malone goaled at the end of the third quarter, Brian Dowling’s Black and Ambers were ahead.
The response was notable however, as Carrie Dolan slotted the next three points and O’Reilly another, and though Gaule made it a two-point game, Dolan and Niamh Hanniffy were on the mark to cement it for Galway.
Dolan was in stellar shooting form, registering ten points, half of those in the first period. O’Reilly was also threatening as she got the opening scores of her 1-3 tally, while for Kilkenny, McHardy, Gaule, Michaela Kennelly and Malone were on target before the second-half entertainment, that ended with the Tribeswomen prevailing.
Tipp followed up their opening round victory over Galway with a routine triumph over Dublin, who did show improvement from their tough first-day experience to Cork.
This was a far better showing at Parnell Park, particularly in the first half, when Gerry McQuaid’s charges went toe-to-toe with the visitors but second-half goals from Caoimhe Maher and the excellent Casey Hennessy enabled Tipp to pull away for a 2-13 to 1-6 success.
Grace O’Shea and Aisling Maher gave the hosts an early lead but a brace from Róisín Howard helped Tipp move ahead. The dual star split the posts once more, as did Grace O’Brien and Hennessy as the Premier moved four clear but a Muireann Kelleher goal left it delicately poised at the break, 0-7 to 1-3.
A goal from Caoimhe Maher nine minutes after the restart put five between them however, and though Howard and Maher exchanged points, Tipp had superior firepower, Hennessy’s 55th minute goal putting the tie to bed.
Skipper Amy O’Connor brought her tally in two games to 2-15 after notching up a goal and eight points in Cork’s 2-19 to 1-10 win against Clare at Páirc Uí Rinn.
The Rebels were electric against opponents that were cock-a-hoop after beating Kilkenny and had taken them to two periods of extra time in last year’s Munster Final.
They led by 0-12 to 0-5 at the change of ends, O’Connor, the tremendous Sorcha McCartan and Saoirse McCarthy among the scorers and Lorna McNamara the primary contributor for Clare.
Hard though the Bannerwomen tried, they could not hang onto the coattails of Matthew Twomey’s free-flowing outfit as O’Connor goaled and Doireann Murphy was unfortunate to concede an own goal, just after Áine O’Loughlin had found the Cork net.
McNamara finished with a tally of six points and there will be other days for John Carmody’s crew but at this early stage of the season, Cork are looking very sharp indeed.