So near and yet so far for Antrim camogs against Kilkenny
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Championship: Kilkenny 0-11 Antrim 0-9
ANTRIM were so desperately unlucky in a crunch clash with Kilkenny in Glenarrife.
Entering injury-time Lydia Fitzpatrick broke through to put Kilkenny into the lead for the first time since the second minute of the game.
The Saffrons had a free soon after to level, but Niamh Donnelly's drive into the breeze pulled slightly right of the post and they conceded a late free to allow Kilkenny to stay in the race for an All-Ireland semi-final spot.
It was a really strong performance from Antrim, building on their win in Kildare the previous Saturday and their defence in particular stood out – after taking a little time to settle.
Katie Nolan burst through for the first score and Kilkenny seemed to be well able to build moves into the stiff breeze over the first seven or eight minutes.
However once Roisin McCormick popped over the opening score, the Antrim team seemed to settle as a unit and they were fully deserving of their half time lead of 0-8 to 0-4.
The defence worked hard supporting each other and moving ball short through to the scoring range where McCormick in particular was causing problems with fair support from Lucia McNaughton and Sinéad Cosgrove.
McCormick added her second point within 30 seconds of opening the Antrim account and another brilliant run resulted in a low shot that seemed to be heading for the bottom corner until Elizabeth Phelan turned it around for a 45 that Niamh Donnelly pointed.
Further points from Cosgrove, a huge Donnelly free and McCormick's third point stretched Antrim's lead to 0-6 to 0-2 after 20 minutes.
Although Aisling Curits and Lydia Fitzpatrick responded with points for the visitors, Sinéad Cosgrove added a seventh Antrim point and was pulled down on her way to goal right on the half-time whistle.
Roisin McCormick tried her luck at a goal from the free but it was deflected over for a four-point lead at the turnover.
That never looked good enough given the strength of the breeze but, despite two quick points from Fitzpatrick and Nolan, Antrim dug in and Lucia McNaughton responded with a point.
Although the Kilkenny momentum was well slowed down they were still edging closer while Antrim couldn't get any more scores.
After 50 minutes Nolan drew the sides level at 0-9 each, but with their backs against the walls Antrim held tight over the next 10 minutes before conceding a fourth point to Fitzpatrick. Had Niamh Donnelly found that range from the late 60m free, the game in all probability would have ended in a draw.
But the poc out was allowed and went far enough to result in a tap over free for Nolan who brought her tally to five points.
It means that Kilkenny are still in with a chance of a semi-final spot, with Antrim depending on results elsewhere during the rest of July to have any chance of making it through.
Meanwhile Galway's 16 points' win over Kildare maintains their 100% record with two games remaining – the last one against Kilkenny – and Westmeath recorded their third victory with a ten points' win over Dublin to move level with Kilkenny in second place.
Antrim: C Graham, E Hynds, C Conlon, L McKenna, M Lynn, N Donnelly capt 0-2 frees, C Drain, F McVeigh, A Boyle, R McCormick 0-4, 0-1 free, C McShane, S Cosgrove 0-2, L McNaughton 0-1, V Edgar, A Connolly.
Sub: C McNaughton for C McShane (54)
Kilkenny: E Phelan, N Carter, C O'Shea, N Sweeney, N Leahy, A Prendergast 0-1 free, A O'Gorman, H Scott, A Curtis 0-1, L Murphy, C Phelan, L Fitzpatrick 0-4, SA Quinlan, K Nolan 0-5, 0-2 free, A Grace.
Subs: L Greene for SA Quinlan (21), C Lyng for L Greene (47), C Foley for A Grace (47), C Dowling for C Foley (52).
Referee: P McDonald (Cavan).
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Championship:
Kilkenny 0-11 Antrim 0-9
Galway 2-17 Kildare 0-7
Westmeath 2-16 Dublin 1-9
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship
CORK, Waterford and Tipperary all secured their progression to the knockout stages of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship on Saturday afternoon when they secured home wins at the expense of Meath, Clare and Dublin respectively.
Reigning champions Cork maintained their 100% record by defeating Meath in Páirc Uí Rinn by a margin of 23 points. The home side hit two goals inside four minutes, the first from Ciara McCarthy and the second from Katelynn Hickey around the 20 minute mark and led by 2-11 to 0-3 at half-time.
Grace Coleman scored a goal for Meath early in the second half but Cork simply pulled away with their third goal coming from Linda Collins in the 53rd minute.
Tipperary won a tough encounter with Dublin with five points to spare. Dublin opened well and had edged ahead before they missed a penalty. However Tipperary gradually found their feet and led by by 0-7 to 0-4 at half time.
They struck another point before the crucial score after 40 minutes set them on a winning path. Grace O'Brien turned over a short Dublin puck out and the ball was worked to Eilish McDonald for the only goal of the game.
Waterford maintained their recent momentum with a four-point victory against Clare at Walsh Park. Beth Carton's free-taking helped the Déise open up a 0-5 to 0-3 advantage after 20 minutes. The sides shared the next four points before a goal by Carton put Waterford 1-7 to 0-5 ahead.
Orlaith Duggan reduced the deficit after half time but a goal from Sarah Lacey goal put Waterford in control of the tie. Although Clare scored five points in a row including a sensational long-range effort from Clare Hehir they couldn't get closer to the home side than a goal deficit and a Fiona Morrissey score in injury time made sure of knock-out hurling for the Déise women later this summer.
Meanwhile in Group 1 Galway have one foot in the knockout stages after their 2-12 to 1-10 triumph over Limerick at Kenny Park. The League champions had to withstand a stern examination from the visitors before two goals and four points from Ailish O'Reilly saw the Tribeswomen leap-frog Limerick in the table.
O'Reilly struck a stunning solo goal in the 18th minute and immediately added a point to help Galway lead by 1-5 to 0-5 at the break.
O'Reilly's second piece of magic came ten minutes into the second half when she fielded a delivery from Carrie Dolan and blasted to the net.
Niamh Mulcahy did get a goal in the fifth minute of injury time directly from a free to finish with 1-7, but Limerick were well-beaten in the end although they should still clinch a place in the quarter-finals, even if they lose their final game to Kilkenny next time out.
Cork 3-22 Meath 1-5
Tipperary 1-11 Dublin 0-9
Waterford 2-10 Clare 0-12
Galway 2-12 Limerick 1-10
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Camogie Championship
OFFALY picked up their second successive win in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior championship with a comfortable win over struggling Wicklow.
The surprise came in the other game with Limerick holding Waterford to a draw. That means that Kerry and Offaly are now in pole position to advance from the group and the picture will be a lot clearer next weekend after Offaly travels down to the Kingdom.
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Camogie Championship
Waterford 2-12 Limerick 1-15
Offaly 5-11 Wicklow 0-4