Thursday 22 August 2019

Dunne keeps Cork at bay with early lead

Ailish O'Reilly congratulates the goal of her Galway teammate Molly Dunne after assisting on the play
Ailish O'Reilly congratulates the goal of her Galway teammate Molly Dunne after assisting on the play Newsdesk Newsdesk

League champions Galway were the big winners as the Liberty Insurance Championship got under way with two games in the ultra-competitive Group 1 and one in Group 2.

Tony Ward's crew repeated their victory over Cork last month but left it very late as they scored the last four points to snatch a 1-11 to 0-12 win at O'Connor Park.

This was a completely different type of game to the one in Semple Stadium in that both sets of defences were on top in a cagey affair. Cork started a little nervously and conceded a ninth-minute goal to Molly Dunne, as the full-forward flicked brilliantly to the net while kneeling on the deck.

Cork found it easier to score from play with the wind and points from Orla Cronin, inspirational skipper Ashling Thompson, Briege Corkery and Katriona Mackey brought them level at half time, 0-8 to 1-5.

Cork would have been ahead but for a couple of saves by Susan Earner - one to deny Amy O'Connor what would have been a goal-of-the-season contender - but it looked as if they might take the honours as O'Connor, Cotter, Cronin and Thompson edged them ahead.

Cork didn't score for the last 13 minutes though. Niamh McGrath slotted two frees before Niamh Kilkenny brought the teams level with a super point over her shoulder to edge Galway ahead. McGrath slotted her eighth point from a placed ball and time ran out on Cork as they chased a goal.

Limerick marked their return to the senior championship with a 1-12 to 1-8 win over Offaly in Newcastle West. The visitors had the better of the opening half however, and a one-point lead was scant reflection of their superiority.

Niamh Mulcahy was deadly accurate from placed balls, scoring all bar one point of Limerick's total, and when her free from 80m dropped into the Offaly net, Limerick went five clear.

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A Costelloe point made it six but Arlene Watkins responded with a spectacular goal before Limerick saw it out.

Kilkenny got their Group 2 campaign off to a good start with a 3-13 to 1-10 win over Dublin at Parnell Park. Denise Gaule, Katie Farrell and Michelle Quilty helped the Noresiders push ahead before Ali Maguire opened the scoring for Dublin. Gaule, who scored 1-7 from frees, got her goal when an 80m free went all the way to the Dublin net. It was 1-6 to 0-4 at the change of ends.

Quilty latched onto a breaking ball to goal after a Gaule free was saved soon after the resumption and Miriam Walsh hand-passed to the Dublin net in the 40th minute.

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