Offaly swept aside by All-Ireland champions
All Ireland Champions Kilkenny powered to a 25-point victory in Birr on Saturday afternoon. Denise Gaule and Mary O’Connell helped themselves to 1-14 as The Cats ran riot against a spirited Offaly side.
National Camogie League Division 1
Despite losing by 25 points, Offaly did have brilliant patches, where they played the ball through the lines and took some brilliant scores, but ultimately Kilkenny showed their dominance as they popped over scores at ease and did not allow Offaly a way back into the game. It is now two from two for Kilkenny in the league, who will look to make it back to back All Ireland’s later in the summer.
Kilkenny started brilliantly and a hat trick of points from Mary O’Connell in the space of two minutes settled her side right into the game.
With five minutes played, Kilkenny almost found the net. Aoife Doyle raced at the Offaly defence and she had the goal at her mercy only for her shot to cannon back off the post. 2 minutes after the goal chance, Kilkenny created another one and this time they made no mistake in taking it. Mairead Jennings came to claim a long ball which landed in her small square and Miriam Walsh dispossessed brilliantly before firing into the net to give Kilkenny a healthy six-point lead after just eight minutes.
Kate Kenny registered Offaly’s first score after 10 minutes of play with a fine long-range effort which was tipped over by Kilkenny goalkeeper Emma Kavanagh but a Miriam Walsh point and Denise Gaule free gave Kilkenny a seven-point lead at the first water break.
Offaly did settle with the resumption of play with Grainne Dolan and Grainne Egan both pointing for the Faithful. Despite a shaky start, their defence did grow into the game and gave as good as they got in the first half. Egan and Gaule both traded frees as the game neared the half time break.
Just before half time, O’Connell had a brilliant chance to grab a second goal for Kilkenny. She darted towards the Offaly goal, but her shot was drilled just wide of Jennings’ goal. One minute later, she split the posts again for Kilkenny and it proved to be the final play of the first half, with Kilkenny carrying a 1-9 to 0-4 lead in at the half time break.
Any hopes of a comeback from Offaly were dashed in the first five minutes of the second half. Gaule and Miriam Walsh both registered quick-fire points inside the first two minutes before the killer blow came twoi minutes later.
Grace Walsh raced forward and caught a cross-field ball on the run. She laid it off to Aoife Doyle who made no mistake in burying the ball to the back of the net. Aisling Brennan did respond for Offaly with a superb long-distance point over her shoulder. Substitute Mairead Teehan also pulled one back for the losers as they looked to somehow find a way back into the game.
As the game wore on, Kilkenny’s dominance also grew. Gaule and O’Connell both popped over scores at ease and just before the second water break, Kilkenny got their third goal of the game. Jennings made an excellent save from a powerful Denise Gaule effort and it rebounded to substitute Katie Nolan who poked the ball home to an empty net and leave Kilkenny with a 17-point lead at the second water break.
There was no let up from Kilkenny in the final quarter as O’Connell and Aoife Doyle both kept the scoreboard ticking. Gaule who had an excellent game for Kilkenny rounded up her impressive day with a goal right at the death after a great pass from Aoife Prendergast to help her side to a comprehensive 25-point victory and put the icing on the cake in what was a great day at the office for the All Ireland Champions.
Teams and scorers
Scorers: Grainne Egan 0-2 (0-2F), Siobhan Flannery 0-2 (0-1F, 0-1 ‘45’), Aisling Brennan, Grainne Dolan, Kate Kenny, Michelle Teehan all 0-1 each.
Team: Mairéad Jennings (Birr); Sarah Walshe (Tullamore), Triona McDonald (Kilcormac Killoughey), Lorraine Keena (Kilcormac Killoughey); Amy Byrne (Lusmagh), Aisling Brennan (St Cillians), Sharon Shanahan (Shinrone); Roisin Egan (St Rynaghs), Orlagh Kirwin (Birr); Emma Mulrooney (Kilcormac Killoughey), Grainne Egan (Shinrone), Grainne Dolan (St Rynaghs); Sarah Harding (Birr), Kate Kenny (St Rynaghs), Orla Maher (Shinrone). Subs: Mairead Teehan (Moneygall) for Orla Maher (H/T), Michaela Morkan (Shinrone) for Triona McDonald (H/T) Siobhan Flannery (St Rynaghs) for Emma Mulrooney. (H/T), Christine Cleary for Grainne Egan (45), Caitlin O’Meara for Mairead Teehan (inj) (56).
Scorers: Denise Gaule 1-8 (0-4F), Mary O’Connell 0-6, Aoife Doyle 1-2, Miriam Walsh 1-1, Kate Nolan 1-0, Laura Murphy, Laura Norris, Aoife Prendergast, Steffi Fitzgerald all 0-1 each
Team: Emma Kavanagh; Michelle Teehan, Davina Tobin, Collette Dormer; Kellyann Doyle, Ciara Phelan, Grace Walsh; Niamh Deely, Miriam Bambrick; Denise Gaule, Mary O’Connell, Michaela Kenneally; Steffi Fitzgerald, Miriam Walsh, Aoife Doyle. Subs: Katie Nolan for Miriam Walsh (37), Aoife Prendergast for Collette Dormer, Laura Murphy for Steffi Fitzgerald (45), Laura Norris for Davina Tobin (45), Lydia Fitzpatrick for Michaela Kenneally (45)
Referee: John McDonagh (Galway).
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