Offaly's Christine Cleary in action in Nowlan Park on Saturday. (Photo by John Gavin).
Offaly's difficult journey through this year's All Ireland Championship continued on Saturday afternoon in Nowlan Park when Kilkenny eased their way to victory against a side in transition and still looking for their first win of the campaign.
Glen Dimplex All Ireland Senior Camogie Championship
It was a fixture that Offaly would have travelled to aware that the odds were stacked against them and while an early pointed free by Denise Gaule for Kilkenny was cancelled out by Mairead Teehan doing likewise for Offaly, it was to be the Midlander's only score until late in the first half as Kilkenny built up their lead. As the half was drawing to a close Sarah Harding fired the ball to the back of the net but any chance that may have given Offaly of a revival was soon forgotten as Kilkenny replied immediately when Katie Nolan managed to slip the ball to the Offaly net despite the best efforts of Eleanor Clendennen.
The game continued in a similar nature in the second half with Katie Nolan helping herself to her second goal of the day. Credit to Offaly however, they did not lie down and had their best period of the match midway through the half as they hit 4 points and restricted Kilkenny to a lone point. But any chance of Offaly extending their mini revival was dashed when Julieann Malone added another goal for the Slaneysiders. Offaly did add a second goal to their tally with the last action of the game when Sarah Harding took a sideline cut that managed to find it's way into the Kilkenny net but it was scant consolation for Susan Earner's team.
Afterwards the Offaly Manager reflected on the game saying: "It's always disappointing to be beaten but Kilkenny are a well seasoned outfit and it was always going to be a huge task. We started well for the first 10 minutes and then we unfortunately lost our shape and conceded too many frees which we paid the price for.”
Earner was happy with her team's second half performance went on to highlight how her team "sliced through the Kilkenny defence on several occasions and were unlucky not to come away with more goals on the scoreboard".
Offaly will now travel to Down on Saturday for their final game of the group where they must win to avoid going into a relegation play off.
Kilkenny: Denise Gaule (0-7 (6 frees)), Katie Nolan (2-1), Julieann Malone (1-1), Miriam Walsh (0-2), Aoife Prendergast (0-2), Mary O'Connell (0-2), Michaela Kenneally (0-1), Katie Power (0-1)
Offaly: Sarah Harding (2-1), Mairead Teehan (0-4 (2 frees)), Roisin Egan (0-1), Grace Teehan (0-1)
Kilkenny: Aoife Norris, Michelle Teehan, Grace Walsh, Tiffanie Fitzgerald, Miriam Bambrick, Claire Phelan, Laura Murphy, Steffi Fitzgerald, Aoife Prendergast, Miriam Walsh, Katie Power, Michaela Kenneally, Denise Gaule, Julieann Malone, Katie Nolan. Subs: Emma Kavanagh, Sarah Crowley, Ciara Phelan, Asha McHardy, Leann Fennelly, Sophie O'Dwyer, Laura Norris, Niamh Deely, Roisin Breen, Danielle Quigley, Mary O'Connell
Offaly: Eleanor Clendennen, Sarah Guinan, Aisling Feeney, Orla Gorman, Grace Teehan, Aisling Brennan, Orlagh Phelan, Sarah Walsh, Louise Mannion, Sarah Harding, Mairead Teehan, Christine Cleary, Faye Mulrooney, Siobhan Flannery, Roisin Egan. Subs: Leah Gallagher, Siobhan Kileen, Jane Lowry, Edwina King, Kaitlyn Kennedy, Caitlyn O'Meara, Catriona Doughan, Clodagh Leahy, Sharon Shanahan, Amy Byrne
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