Tipp's interim manager lauds predecessor and players
INTERIM Tipperary manager Niamh Lillis has hailed the influence of her predecessor Bill Mullaney and the reaction of the players to a difficult few weeks.
Firstly, their initial Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Group 2 tie with Waterford was abandoned a fortnight ago after a serious injury to Nicole Walsh.
Then it was announced after their loss to Cork last week that Mullaney was standing down due to health reasons.
The rest of the management team have stepped up; Lillis with the title of interim manager, and Walsh back on the line cheering on her team-mates at Nowlan Park on Saturday. They got the perfect response to the trying period as their team prevailed by 4-11 to 2-14 after Waterford had led by a point at the interval. Waterford had first-half goals from a penalty by Beth Carton and a goal by Annie Fitzgerald after Ereena Fryday and Megan Ryan had struck the net at the other end early on.
Fryday and Grace O'Toole raised two more green flags early in the second half and though Carton landed six second-half points, Cáit Devane registered a pair of vital scores to cement the win for Tipp.
"I have to give credit to the girls," said Lillis. "They were absolutely fantastic. Waterford came back at us like all good teams do and we dug deep and found absolute character.
"Bill has built a lot of character into these girls," she added.
"They've been fantastic today and I can't credit them enough. Pity there wasn't more Tipperary people here to see them today because they absolutely played out of their skin and we couldn't ask for any more."
Kilkenny maintained their flawless record from three outings with a 2-17 to 2-7 victory over a valiant Offaly. However, Anne Dalton, who has been relishing playing further up the pitch after a number of years wearing number six, was not happy with the performance at Nowlan Park.
"Whether it was the hot weather or maybe coming off the back of a big win last week (against Wexford), maybe a bit of complacency, I don't know," said the 2018 player of the year.
"Offaly are a good team as well. They have nothing to lose coming down to Kilkenny and they threw everything at us."
Meanwhile in Croagh, Limerick are two from two but Barry Kennedy must have been heartened by the performance of his Wexford players.
While they lost by 1-18 to 0-10, their improved competitiveness, one week after losing by 43 points to Kilkenny, augurs well.