By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Ursula Jacob broke Galway hearts once again with a stunning nine-point contribution to give Wexford a 0-11 to 1-7 victory in Division 1 of the Irish Daily Star Camogie League.
Jacob was the Model County captain when scoring the goal that shattered the westerners’ stout resistance in last year’s All-Ireland final and she was in deadly accurate form to turn them over again.
Galway had a strong wind in their favour in the first half and were full value for the three-point interval advantage, with Aislinn Connolly propelling them ahead from placed balls.
The Castlegar sharpshooter, who finished with 1-5, capitalised on good work from Noreen Coen and Brenda Hanney to goal in the 38th minute, and the advantage was four but from thereon, Jacob inched the defending champions to a narrow victory.
Two of last year’s intermediates, Stacey Redmond and Lisa Bolger pushed their claims for a permanent spot in the senior side, while stalwart Mary Leacy was in typically commanding form at centre-back.
For Galway, Orla and Niamh Kilkenny, and Jessica Gill were outstanding for a Galway side that is sure to be challenging for honours again before the year is out.
It is an indication of the increasing competitiveness and depth in inter-county camogie right now that the aggregate margins of victory in the three Division 1 ties was three points.
Clare also had the minimum to spare over Tipperary at The Ragg, coming out on the right side of a 1-10 to 1-9 scoreline.
Clare bossed the match for the opening 20 minutes and Fiona Lafferty’s hand-passed goal gave them a four-point lead at half time.
With Jill Horan in sensational form once again, Tipperary drove forward but Denise Lynch made a number of good saves, while Chloe Morey and Kate Lynch were resolute operators.
Nicole Walsh drilled a low shot from a free to the Clare net with 20 minutes to go, while Cáit Devane provided five pointed frees in total but the home side fell just short.
Dublin’s performances have improved considerably this year and they produced another excellent effort, albeit a losing one, when falling by a solitary point to Kilkenny in O’Toole Park by 2-9 to 2-8.
The hosts recovered well from a torrid start that saw them trailing by 2-5 to 0-1 with less than six minutes remaining to half time.
By that stage, Kilkenny had goals from the outstanding Katie Power and Siobhán Hyland. The accurate Aoife Neary, who finished with six pointed frees, kept the scoreboard ticking over and it was looking like Dublin were in for a hiding.
Instead, they rolled up their sleeves and Amy Murphy’s goal right on half time left them trailing by just four.
Louise O’Hara’s dipping shot reduced the margin to one but despite having a couple of opportunities in the final ten minutes, they couldn’t grab a share of the spoils.
Pictured below: Ursula Jacob in action in last year’s All Ireland final against Galway. The Oulart the Ballagh clubwoman hit 0-9 of her side’s 0-11 total at the weekend in the Irish Daily Star League Final