Wexford may have been without their Oulart-The Ballagh contingent as they got the defence of their Irish Daily Star National Camogie League Division 1 title under way in Enniscorthy yesterday, but it made no difference, as they steamrollered Offaly 5-17 to 1-9.
The visitors had a strong wind behind them in the first half but rarely threatened, relying largely on the free-taking of Elaine Dermody as they trailed by 2-6 to 0-5 at half time. Wexford struck clinically for two goals in the space of two minutes from the impressive Fiona Kavanagh and Josie Dwyer in the second quarter to set the tone for the second half.
JJ Doyle’s side ran riot after the restart, with Kate Kelly adding three points to bring her overall tally to eight, while goals from Brid Gordon, Evelyn Quigley and Lenny Holohan – the latter with a brilliant overhead flick – saw them ramming home their advantage.
Offaly kept plugging away and Aoife Kelly did snatch a goal but despite their efforts, they were never threatening the champions.
Cork got their campaign off to a successful start when making light work of understrength Kilkenny in Killeagh, 3-14 to 0-6.
Brendan Williams is returning to the Kilkenny job after Ann Downey stood down last year and with 23 players unavailable to him, handed debuts to six players.
While not dealing from a full deck themselves, Cork did have plenty of big guns lining out and that was critical, as the experience, ability and power of Gemma O’Connor, Jennifer O’Leary and Briege Corkery was well in evidence as the home side strolled to victory.
Cork led by 2-9 to 0-4 at the break, both goals coming from the deadly O’Leary, who finished with 2-4 to her credit. Substitute Finola Neville marked her introduction with a second half goal, while Katrina Mackey finished with three points.
It was a tough day for Kilkenny but goalkeeper Catriona Ryan, captain and full-back Catherine Doherty and top-scoring Aoife Neary with five points, can hold their heads high after their performances.
Meanwhile, Dublin recorded a famous shock victory over Tipperary in a thriller, prevailing by just the minimum, 2-13 to 1-15 at Parnell Park.
The home side laid the foundation for this success with two goals in a minute at the beginning of the second quarter from Áine Fanning and eye-catching 17-year-old Ali Twomey. That gave them a four-point interval advantage and though Tipperary poured on the pressure after the resumption, some last-ditch defending secured the verdict.
Noreen Flanagan goaled three minutes after the resumption to give Tipperary’s comeback bid some much needed fuel, while Cáit Devane was the Premiers’ chief markswoman, slotting nine points. But with Louise O’Hara contributing five points in a brilliant midfield display, and the half-back line of Fiona Hayes, Gráinne Quinn and Caitriona Power repelling so many Tipperary attacks, the day was Dublin’s in the end.
Meanwhile, Derry beat Limerick by 0-12 to 7 in Division 2, while Kildare and Westmeath shared the spoils 0-17 to 3-8 in a cracking Division 3 tie.
In the All-Ireland minor A championship, there were wins for Tipperary over Dublin (1-15 to 1-9), Kilkenny over Galway (1-9 to 1-8) and Cork over Limerick (0-12 to 0-8).