In-form Dalton fires Kilkenny into final clash with Galway
A majestic performance by Anne Dalton gave Kilkenny a 0-12 to 0-9 victory over Cork in the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 1 semi-final in Carriganore.
Only Galway stand in their way of completing a historic four-in-a-row as a result of their sensational 2-14 to 0-4 defeat of Limerick at St Brendan's Park.
Reigning Player of the Year Dalton was magnificent for Kilkenny, scoring four points from play in a more advanced role than usual. With Michelle Quilty landing six from frees, Ann Downey's troops were able to turn around a one-point interval deficit to reach the final.
Cork had the benefit of a strong wind in the first half but struggled to make it count on the scoreboard.
In fact, it was Kilkenny that carved out an early two-point advantage, Dalton returning a loose clearance with interest after Quilty had converted a couple of frees either side of one from Orla Cotter.
Dalton and Katie Power added fine points for Kilkenny but Cotter landed a lovely score from play later on, and young attacker Clíona Healy helped herself to two.
Though Cotter extended Cork's advantage to two points (0-8 to 0-6) within seconds of the resumption, Kilkenny shot the next six points.
Quilty doubled her tally with three more successful shots from frees, Denise Gaule converted another from distance and as Dalton shot two more points, they established a 0-12 to 0-8 lead. All Cork could muster in the remainder was a point from Julia White.
The conditions were difficult in Birr where, for the fifth consecutive year, Limerick fell at the penultimate hurdle.
Niamh Hanniffy scored an early major as Galway raced into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead after just four minutes.
Niamh Mulcahy converted a free in the seventh minute but there was nothing for the Shannonsiders to take from the opening half as they were blown away by Galway.
Four pointed frees by Carrie Dolan and a pair from play by Noreen Coen extended the lead, with Ailish O'Reilly and Niamh Kilkenny also on the mark to make it 1-8 to 0-1 at the change of ends. Mulcahy doubled Limerick's tally from another placed ball but it remained largely one-way traffic after the break.
O'Reilly grabbed Galway's second goal midway through the second half as the torment continued.
The scoring rate dropped as Cathal Murray emptied his bench but Limerick were still unable to register even one score from play, Mulcahy hitting their four points.
The relegation play-off between Offaly and Wexford, scheduled for Coolock, did not take place as scheduled, with Wexford refusing to play with both teams in attendance.