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The Liberty Insurance Senior Camogie Championship got underway at the weekend with wins for Westmeath, Kilkenny, and Galway. Cork received a walkover from Offaly.
Galway got the defence of their Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship off to a perfect start with a 5-17 to 3-9 victory over Wexford.
Westmeath marked their debut in the Championship in fine style with a victory over Limerick, as Kilkenny got the upper hand on south-east rivals Waterford.
Semi-finalists for the past two seasons, Tipperary, overcame the dismissal of Aisling Moloney to record a 0-20 to 1-8 triumph over Clare.
Westmeath surprise Limerick
Limerick 0-12 Westmeath 1-12
Westmeath could make the knockout stages at the first attempt after a stunning first half in Bruff.
The home side showed plenty determination to get it back to a goal at the final whistle, having trailed by 8 points early doors. They almost rescued a draw only for Westmeath goalkeeper Fiona Keating to save Judith Mulcahy’s late effort.
Points from Keating, Pamela Greville, Megan Dowdall and Ava Balfe gave Westmeath a tremendous start. When Denise McGrath scored a goal, they were 1-7 to 0-2 ahead. Two pointed frees from Caoimhe Costelloe was all Limerick had to show.
Paul Sexton’s side finished with four points, including their first score from play by Orlaith Kelleher.
Aoife Doherty helped increase the margin to seven, enabling Johnny Greville’s team to hold off a late Limerick rally.
Kilkenny too strong in the South-East
Waterford 0-08 Kilkenny 0-15
Denise Gaule and Beth Carton shot three points each as the sides went in deadlocked on 0-6 apiece at half-time.
Anne Dalton began as part of a two-player full-forward line and got the scoring under way. With Lydia Fitzpatrick industrious around the middle, Gaule capitalised on finding space with a couple of lovely scores.
Abby Flynn, Annie Fitzgerald and Carton were threatening, leading to a number of frees that Carton converted. Waterford will rue not registering a goal from a couple of chances however.
Kilkenny had the wind in the second half and found another gear as Waterford carried none of the threat of the opening period.
Katie Nolan, Miriam Walsh and her cousin Grace were among the scorers as Brian Dowling’s charges pulled away for a deserved triumph.
Champions Galway open their defence
Galway 5-17 Wexford 3-9
Galway got their defence of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship under way with an impressive performance against Wexford, winning 5-17 to 3-9.
The Connacht side scored a fourth-minute goal though Catherine Finnerty following good defensive work by Shauna Healy. Finnerty caught Aoife Donohue’s delivery on the 45, turned sharply, before drilling an unstoppable shot beyond Laura Brennan.
Wexford hit back quickly with a smart finish to the net by Mag Byrne after Linda Bolger had kept the sliotar alive.
Donohoe provided the ammunition for Ailish O’Reilly, who rounded her marker before providing a cute finish for her first major in the 10th minute.
Wexford had the margin down to four with just a minute of normal time remaining in the first half. A point by Caitríona Cormican and a second goal for O’Reilly quickly left them trailing by 3-9 to 1-7 at the break.
Stunning Chloe Foxe score
Chloe Foxe landed a free early in the second half and one of the best team goals you are ever likely to see.
It began with centre-back Sarah O’Connor gathering Sarah Healy’s lengthy drive inside her own 45. She burst through a flurry of bodies before offloading to the supporting Bolger. The midfielder accelerated forward before hand-passing to Shelly Kehoe. Kehoe transferred quickly to Joanne Dillon and the Rathgarogue/Cushinstown attacker made no mistake from 13m.
Galway needed a response, and it came via Niamh Hanniffy, as she pounced on a loose pass to grab a fourth goal for the visitors.
Cathal Murray was able to introduce Rebecca Hennelly, Orlaith McGrath and Niamh McGrath, and Donohue followed up with another brilliant goal.
Wexford continued to battle, O’Connor grabbing a fabulous goal following another run down the centre of the Galway defence. The move included a one-two with Róisín Kelly before the centre-back provided the immaculate finish.
Tipp take comfortable win over Clare
Tipperary 0-20 Clare 1-8
The new-look midfield pairing Karen Kennedy and Moloney were among the early scorers. Grace O’Brien, Orla O’Dwyer and Cáit Devane also got in on the act. Tipperary used a very strong wind to their advantage in the first half of their victory over Clare.
Clare began well with points from Áine O’Loughlin, Greta Hickey and O’Loughlin again. The full-forward also had a shot at goal well saved by Caoimhe Bourke.
Precision in attack was significant however, given the elements, and at half-time, Bill Mullaney’s outfit led by 0-13 to 0-4.
Devane stretched the lead soon after the restart. Laura McMahon and Susan Vaughan responded well, as the Banner got more possession. Unfortunately for them, they failed to capitalise on some of their opportunities.
Championship debutant Moloney was red carded in the 20th minute after referee Ray Kelly consulted his officials following an off-the-ball altercation with Vaughan.
Tipp’s reaction was impressively professional. Devane slotted a 45 and Kennedy, revelling at midfield, split the posts to take the wind out of the Clare sails.
The Premiers moved 12 clear to ensure that Kelly’s stunning 64th minute green flag was too little too late for Ger O’Connell’s hard-working team.