WEXFORD hung on by the skin of their teeth after Beth Carton led a late rally for 14-woman Waterford that almost saw them reel-in their south east neighbours in a Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues Division 1 encounter at WIT that really came to life in the final quarter.
The Déise girls fell just short though and their visitors made the short journey up the Coast Road with the vital points, 1-11 to 1-10. Wexford laid the foundation for their Group 1 victory in the first half, chiselling out a 0-7 to 0-4 lead at the interval when playing into the wind. Chloe Foxe was excellent while the inspirational defender Ciara Storey was unyielding.
Linda Bolger goaled soon after the resumption and matters took a turn for the worse for the hosts when Clare Whyte was sent off after for a second yellow-card offence. Bolger and Foxe added points and it was 1-11 to 0-6 with nine minutes of normal time remaining.
That was a fair reflection of proceedings at that juncture but the prodigious Carton really went into overdrive, scoring a goal and four points without replay. The goal came right on the hour to bring her personal tally to 1-8 but her long-distance effort for an equaliser from a free just drifted wide.
On Saturday, All-Ireland and League champions Kilkenny had an overwhelming victory over neighbours Tipperary at the MW Hire Training Centre in Kilkenny.
Tipperary, who had gone so close to beating Wexford in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final, stood toe-to-toe with their vaunted opponents for the opening 20 minutes but Ann Downey’s charges gradually imposed themselves goals either side of half time from Jenny Clifford and Michelle Quilty pushed them clear, despite the best efforts of Nicole Walsh.
Noresiders have a powerful forward line and they recorded a couple more goals from Katie Power to secure an emphatic success, with the score finishing 4-13 to 0-8.
In the other Group 1 tie, Cork came out on top after a stern challenge from Dublin in Mallow on a scoreline of 1-7 to 0-4. The Metropolitans fought tooth and nail in the opening period and in a real dogged affair, the sides shared six points evenly through the first half.
David Herity’s team gave little away after the resumption either but Cork managed three points, while the visitors were unable to have any impact. It remained very uncomfortable for the Leesiders however, even with Rena Buckley leading the way and it wasn’t until an injury time goal that their supporters could relax with a very positive gloss on the scoreline.
There were wins in Group 2 for Limerick and Galway, with the Munster side having too much firepower for top-tier newcomers Meath and streaking to a 0-18 to 0-7 win in Rathkeale. The hosts streaked to a seven-point interval lead. Meath kept in touch as Aoife Minogue and Jane Dolan raised white flags but once again, Niamh Mulcahy contributed massively to the Limerick cause and her 10 points pulled them clear once more.
And finally in Division 1, Galway recovered from a slow start to get the better of Clare by 1-22 to 0-7. The home side shot the first two points in Whitegate courtesy of Zoe McInerney and Regan Conway but Ailish O’Reilly, who finished with nine points including three from play, and Aoife Donohue, who scored five points from play, were on fire as the westerners struck eight consecutive points to lead by six at the change of ends.
Things didn’t get better for the home team in the second half. Noreen Coen and Rebecca Hennelly were among the scorers and despite five pointed frees by Chloe Morey, there was nothing Clare could do to hold Galway at bay and Ciara Murphy found the net in the 58th minute to make it an 18-point game at the final whistle.
Meanwhile, there was a shock in Division 2 as Westmeath got the better of Kildare by 3-6 to 0-9 in St Conleth’s Park Newbridge. Goals were the key for the Lakesiders, as Dinah O’Loughlin grabbed a brace and Louise O’Connor also breached the Lilywhite rearguard to emerge with the honours despite Siobhán Hurley’s seven points.
Patrice Diggin followed up her magnificence in UL’s Ashbourne Cup success last weekend with a nine-point haul as Kerry romped to a 5-17 to 0-3 win over Tyrone at the John Mitchels ground to get their Division 3 campaign off to the perfect start. Ann Marie Leen was another star in a genuine team effort that saw the Kingdom lead by 3-10 to 0-0 at half time.
Dublin defeated Roscommon by 2-10 to 1-5. Kelley Hopkins scored 1-4 for the Rossies but Laoise Quinn registered 1-3 for the Dubs and she had a stronger supporting cast to seal the deal.