Shinrone made a winning start to the defence of their Offaly Senior Camogie title on Sunday but they were made to fight all the way by a determined Birr side in Crinkle.
Five goals and just one point in the first-half kept them in touch with the goals coming from Niamh Treacy, Michaela Morkan, Kelly McLeish, Christine Cleary and Grainne Egan.
Arlene Watkins was the top scorer for Birr as she helped her side to a 3-11 to 5-1 lead at the break but in the second-half they struggled to add to their total against the wind.
Shinrone kept the scoreboard ticking over with another 13 points after half-time as they went on to win by 5-13 to 3-14.
There was also a goal-fest in the second game in Group 2 as St Rynagh’s had a 5-10 to 4-5 win over Tullamore. With Siobhan Flannery, Roisin Egan and Linda Sullivan to the fore, St Rynagh’s built a 2-4 to 1-4 lead despite playing into the wind in the first-half. Last year’s beaten county finalists Tullamore matched St Rynagh’s goal for goal in the second-half but were unable to close the gap despite strong showings from Sabrina Carroll, Claire Cantwell and Natalie McCabe.
In Group 1, Drumcullen made a winning start to their campaign as they saw off the challenge of a young but determined St Cillian’s side by 5-13 to 1-11. Playing with the wind in the first-half, Drumcullen held a 3-6 to 1-4 lead with all three of their goals coming from Elaine Dermody.
St Cillian’s kept the scoreboard ticking over throughout the half and were well in touch at the break.
However it was goals that proved crucial with Elaine Dermody and Aoife Troy adding one more apiece for Drumcullen after the break as they opened their campaign with a win. Lead by captain Elaine Fleury and Ann Marie Guinan, Drumcullen defended very well against the wind while the quartet of Laura Hogan, Cailin Fitzgerald, Rachel Brennan and Ashling Brennan all performed strongly for a young St Cillian’s side throughout.
The second game in Group 1 was a hard fought and low scoring local derby as Kilcormac/Killoughey edged out Kinnitty by 0-6 to 0-5. Both teams fielded young teams and there was nothing to chose between them throughout the game. Kilcormac/Killoughey led 0-4 to 0-2 at the break but they had to hold off a Kinnitty fightback in the second-half to seal the win. Kinnitty created a couple of goal scoring chances but on each occasion, the ball went narrowly wide.
The championship resumes in a fortnight’s time with the second round of games. In Group 1, Naomh Brid open their campaign against Kilcormac/Killoughey while Drumcullen make the short trip up the road to face neighbours Kinnitty.
In Group 2 Lusmagh/Sinchill’s open their campaign at home to Birr while there is a reprise of last year’s County Final when Shinrone make the trip to take on Tullamore.
All four games are fixed for Sunday, April 27.
Drumcullen 5-13 St Cillian’s 1-11
Kilcormac/Killoughey 0-6 Kinnitty 0-5
Shinrone 5-13 Birr 3-14
Tullamore 4-5 St Rynagh’s 5-10