WEXFORD won the battle of the champions at Buffers Alley yesterday to kick-start their 2008 Gala All-Ireland senior camogie championship charge.
The reigning All-Ireland champions defeated National League kingpins Kilkenny 3-14 to 2-4 to record a first championship victory of the season in their third outing.
The Slaneysiders led 1-9 to 2-2 at half-time and restricted the Cats to just two second half points, one of those from a 45.
Two-goal hero Ursula Jacob set Wexford on their way with the game’s opening goal after 15 minutes but Kilkenny hit back when Ann Dalton goaled a 20th minute free.
The Noresiders were right back in the hunt when SinÚad Millea converted a 26th minute penalty but after half time, it was one-way traffic as Wexford showed glimpses of the form that brought them All-Ireland glory last year.
In-form Katrina Parrock scored the insurance goal 16 minutes into the second half and less than a minute later, Jacob found the net again as Kilkenny were hit with a quickfire double whammy.
By the finish, all of Wexford’s forwards had registered scores as Jacob led the way with a 2-2 haul.
Kate Kelly was also in good form with five points for the winners who will be confident of sealing a place the top four with games remaining against Tipperary, Dublin and Limerick.
At Pßirc UÝ Rinn, last year’s beaten finalists Cork suffered their first defeat of the campaign as National League runners-up Galway ran out 1-9 to 0-9 winners.
This was a free-ridden encounter as Galway scored all but 1-1 from placed balls, with 0-6 of Cork’s total arriving in similar fashion.
Galway led by 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time and after stretching 0-8 to 0-5 clear early in the second half, the Tribeswomen looked set for victory.
Cork struck back to draw level at 0-8 apiece but Galway sub Lourda Kavanagh stopped the rising Rebelette side with a fine solo goal three minutes from time, which clinched the tie for the visitors.
Jessica Gill was Galway’s scorer-in-chief with seven points, six frees and a 45, while Veronica Curtin chipped in with two points.
Cork’s leading scorer was Rachel Moloney with 0-6, Emer O’Sullivan bagged 0-2 and Linda Dorgan chipped in with a point.
On Saturday, Tipperary moved closer to qualification for the semi-finals after recording an an emphatic victory against Limerick in Kilmallock.
The Premier County ran 2-22 to 0-5 winners against Limerick, who slumped to a fourth successive defeat in this year’s competition as they continue to find the going tough in the senior ranks.
With home games remaining against champions Wexford and Galway, one more win will be enough for Tipp to clinch a place in the last four.
Tipp led by 1-12 to 0-4 at half-time as Joanne Ryan’s 18th-minute goal opened up a 1-7 to 0-1 advantage and effectively killed the game as a contest.
The Shannonsiders managed just one point after half-time and Cora Hennessy piled on the misery with a second Tipperary goal close to full-time.
Cork, Galway and Tipperary now look well-placed for semi-final places and it now looks like Wexford and Kilkenny will be battling it out for the coveted fourth spot.