Mulcahy class fails to stem tide as Wexford outshine Shannonsiders
The Liberty Insurance All-Ireland senior camogie championship got off to an all-action start as Wexford played host to an absolute humdinger against Limerick, winning by 3-17 to 1-16.
The home side inflicted most of the damage in the first half as goals from Kate Kelly and Úna Leacy saw them streak into an 11-point lead.
When Leacy plundered her second goal after the break, there was no way back for the Shannonsiders as they fell 13 points behind but the magnificent Niamh Mulcahy showed her class with a goal and a hatful of points that saw the margin reduced to six before Kelly converted a free with the game's last act.
Champions Cork got their bid for a three-in-a-row under way with a convincing 2-16 to 0-9 defeat of last year's intermediate victors Waterford at Walsh Park.
The Déise girls were extremely competitive in the opening period and, thanks to six points from Trish Jackman, trailed by just four at the interval, 1-8 to 0-7 as a goal from Briege Corkery, along with five points from Orla Cotter gave Cork the edge. Cotter found the Waterford net in fortuitous circumstances from a long-range free to remove any doubt and finished with a tally of a goal and eight points.
In Sixmilebridge, Clare found Offaly too strong. A Tina Hannon goal helped establish a 1-12 to 0-5 half-time lead. Michaela Morkan and Cailin Fitzgerald were among the scorers as Offaly moved inexorably towards the win, but Clare showed plenty of character with a Chloe Morey goal from a free as it finished 1-16 to 1-11.
As expected, league finalists Galway were pushed hard by a resurgent Tipperary and after Jenny Grace brought Brian Boyle's crew to within a point of the westerners with six minutes of normal time remaining, it needed points from Aoife Donoghue and Niamh McGrath to see them home on a 1-13 to 1-10 scoreline.
Both goals came in the opening period, with Noreen Coen on the mark for Galway 19 minutes in and Orla O'Dwyer replying two minutes into added time.
Kilkenny, who defeated Galway in the league decider, were resounding victors against Derry in Swatragh by 5-24 to 2-3. Sarah Ann Quinlan, Denise Gaule, Miriam Walsh (two) and Katie Power were scorers for the Noresiders, while Aoife Shaw and Kate McAnenly raised green flags for the Oak Leafers.