Dublin manager Adrian O’Sullivan hailed his players’ character after they overcame a difficult week in the build-up to their opening Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior camogie championship Group 1 tie against Waterford to secure “their first significant championship win in a number of years”.
The pride was evident as O’Sullivan became emotional when he detailed the bereavement and serious accident that had impacted on a number of the players ahead of the 1-11 to 0-12 triumph at Walsh Park.
The teams were level seven times in the first half of an entertaining encounter, with a goal from Aisling Maher in the 25th minute the critical score to make it 1-8 to 0-8 at half-time.
Beth Carton brought the sides level with her sixth point in the 56th minute but Maher slotted a free and after Waterford’s Clodagh Carroll was sent off for a second yellow-card offence, Aisling O’Neill added a point to put the icing on a hard-earned victory.
“I’m very, very happy with it,” said a smiling O’Sullivan. “That’s their first significant championship win in a number of years against one of the teams who’ve been competing in the knockout stages. We’ve put in an awful lot of hard work to get to this point.
“It was an emotional week. A lot of our players, one of their best friends was in a car crash on Tuesday, and Eve O’Brien’s uncle passed away as well. It was tough to manage emotionally for a lot of players as well. They went out and delivered there – you’d have to be proud of them.
“It was a really important win because our group is so tight, everybody will beat everybody else. We didn’t want to be chasing, coming down to the last day looking up or down the table, wondering where the win was going to come from. So I’m buzzing for them.”
Elsewhere in Group 1, injury-time points from Susan Daly and Chloe Morey (free) earned Clare a 0-10 apiece draw with Tipperary at The Ragg. Cáit Devane, who provided half of Tipp’s tally, did have the sliotar in the net in a dramatic finale, but referee Justin Heffernan had blown the final whistle just before she gathered possession.
In the other clash, last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists Cork overcame Division 2 league winners Wexford by 2-14 to 1-6 at Bellefield, with Amy O’Connor scoring 2-3 and debutante Emma Murphy prominent with a four-point haul from play. Joanne Dillon struck the goal for the home team.
All-Ireland and league champions Galway needed goals from Niamh Hanniffy and Carrie Dolan to lead Limerick by 2-1 to 0-4 at half-time, but they turned on the style after the break as Hanniffy went on to complete her hat-trick in a 4-11 to 1-7 win.
Antrim marked their return to senior fare with a 4-18 to 1-10 victory over Offaly in Birr.
An early Mairéad Teehan goal helped the hosts establish a good early position but Áine Magill grabbed the first of her two goals just before the interval. When Róisín McCormick billowed the net in the 40th minute the floodgates opened and Caitrin Dobbin and Magill raised further green flags.
An Anna Rogan goal at the start of the second half gave Down hope against Kilkenny at Liatroim but despite Niamh Mallon shooting nine points (five from play), they had no answer to the visitors’ power play in the final quarter. Denise Gaule finished up with 13 points in the 1-23 to 1-10 win, with Mary O’Connell registering the Noresiders’ goal.