Farrell inspires Cats to battling success
Kilkenny laid down a strong marker for the Liberty Insurance senior championship with a hard-earned 1-10 to 1-8 victory away to Galway in the opening round.
While the Noresiders were far from total outsiders given their recent Leinster final victory over All-Ireland champions Wexford, this still represents a shock result and boosts their hopes of emerging from a very difficult group that also involves Wexford, Clare and Derry.
Kilkenny laid the groundwork for victory in the first half, when they held their opponents scoreless while scoring six points.
The excellent Shelley Farrell provided three of those from play and Farrell had a key role in pressurising the Galway defence before Denise Gaule pounced for a goal just two minutes after the resumption.
That put Kilkenny in a strong position and though Galway did battle well, with Ann Marie Hayes goaling at the end of the third quarter, Kilkenny carved out a deserved win.
Offaly made light work of Dublin in Crumlin, cruising to a 3-13 to 0-5 success. Just a point separated the sides in last year's All-Ireland quarter-final and Dublin certainly had enough possession in the first half.
They shot nine wides in that period however, and never recovered from the double whammy of goals from Aoife Kelly and Ann-Marie Guinan within a minute of each other towards the end of the first half.
That gave Offaly a 2-2 to 0-4 lead and Aidan Franks' crew used the wind to stretch clear in the latter period. Elaine Dermody hand-passed to the net in the 48th minute as she finished with a personal tally of 1-8, while the Offaly defence, in which Sheila Sullivan gave a player-of-the-match exhibition, successfully shackled the Dublin attack.
Derry made history by playing senior championship camogie for the first time and they recovered from a nervous start to give an excellent account of themselves. They were unable to deny Clare however, coming out the wrong side of a 3-11 to 1-6 scoreline.
Karen Kielt was brilliant for the Oak Leafers, contributing 1-5, but Clare had a greater depth of supply.
Deirdre Murphy – who, like Derry goalkeeper Claire O'Kane, was commencing her 17th season of adult championship camogie – stood out with 1-2, while Lisa Loughnane's second-half brace, allied to Claire McMahon's six points ensured that the Banner women had the upper hand.
Tipperary put up a good fight in the first half against Cork but they had no answer to the pace and power of the league champions in the second half.
Jenny O'Leary was magnificent throughout and her 48th-minute goal ended the resistance of outstanding Tipperary goalie, Rita Burke.
Last year's captain Julia White came off the bench to score 1-2, with the major coming in injury-time. Noreen Flanagan struck the net for Tipp, with Nicole Walsh hitting all her side's points in the 2-15 to 1-5 outcome.