Hurling and camogie

Derry camog Gráinne McNicholl denies Down in Owenbeg

Séamas McAleenan

Liberty Insurance Intermediate Camogie Championship Group 2: Derry 4-6 Down 0-18

A SCORCHING drive from Gráinne McNicholl in the second minute of injury time rescued a draw for Derry in Owenbeg on Saturday to keep alive the All-Ireland hopes of both teams after an exciting second-half of end-to-end camogie.

Had Down won, Derry would have been gone and that was something that Oak Leaf manager John O’Dwyer reflected upon after the final whistle.

“We were under a lot of pressure to get a result here today and maybe that showed in our first half; we looked very nervous. But our defence was superb throughout and we could well have got a win.

“Down are a serious outfit, very powerful and strong, but I think that we finished well and the situation doesn’t change much really. We are alive and have to beat Tipperary in our last game to get through.”

Over in the other dugout, Martina Rooney was still looking at the game as a point won, even though her team held the upper hand on the score board throughout.

“It has never been easy for us to come up here. But our fate is in our own hands now. We have a home game against Wexford and we will be in the All-Ireland semi-final if we win. I would have preferred a win here, but what we got is better than a loss.”

Down were dominant in general play during the opening half, but they were also vulnerable to goals, and that was particularly evident during the opening exchanges.

Catherine McGourty placed Paula O’Hagan for the first point, but at the other end the two Grainne's (McNicholl and McGoldrick) combined for the latter to fire to the Down net.

Down’ response was immediate, points for Sara Louise Carr, a Niamh Mallon free, Sorcha McCartan and Mallon again from play before Áine McAllister’s cross found McGoldrick and she first timed to the net for a second Derry goal.

Again Down responded with a series of excellent points, including three from Mallon, and the visitors took a 0-11 to 2-1 lead after 18 minutes.

Despite continuing to dominate general play, Down failed to add to that until the 29th minute, by which point Derry had closed the gap with three points.

But McCartan and Danielle Harrison pointed just before the break to give Down a 0-13 to 2-4 interval lead and it probably should have been a more emphatic score-line for them.

The accuracy levels were just not as impressive after the break, Down doubled their wides tally to reach eight, while Derry hit six wayward shots during the second half as the balance of play seemed to shift.

Therese Mellon’s speculative shot from 40 yards fell for Áine Kelly to poke home and level the tie on 38 minutes. But Down responded with the next three points, two for Mallon and the other from sub Aimee McAleenan.

Down held that lead until 58 minutes when a long free from Gráinne McNicholl was touched to the net by Karen Kielt. Although Niamh Mallon responded by coolly slotting a free, McNicholl had the final say with a shot that was driven hard just over the bar for a share of the spoils.

Down held a physical advantage over Derry and were able to break tackles fairly easily, but they still did not create a clear goal-scoring opportunity, while Derry’s defence weathered the storm and were the bedrock on which the draw was laid.

Down had more options for scores, while Derry depended on the two Grainne’s to drag them back from the brink.

Elsewhere in the group, Tipperary went tops with an emphatic 5-29 to 0-7 win over Carlow and Laois edged home against bottom side Wexford.

Down: M McNally, N Kelly, F Carr (capt), A Savage, C Rocks, D Magee, K McMullan, D Savage, A Keown, P O'Hagan 0-2, SL Carr 0-3, S McCartan 0-2, N Mallon 0-8, 0-5 frees, C McGourty, D Harrison 0-1

Subs: C McGilligan for C Rocks (blood sub 21-26), A McAleenan 0-1 for SL Carr (23), S Sands 0-1 for D Harrison (51), C Fitzpatrick for P O’Hagan (58)

Derry: N McQuillan, C Glass, B Ní Chaiside, J McGuckin, M Kerr, A Ní Chaiside, A Quinn, G McNicholl 0-2, D O'Kane, A McAllister, S Quinn, M McNicholl 0-1, A Kelly 0-1, G McGoldrick 2-2, 0-1 free, T Mellon 1-0.

Sub: K Kielt 1-0 for A Quinn (51)

Referee: G Donegan (Dublin)

Liberty Insurance Intermediate Championship Group 2

Laois 2-10 Wexford 1-9

Tipperary 5-29 Carlow 0-7

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Group 1

Cork 3-18 Antrim 0-10

ANTRIM made the long journey to Cork on Saturday to take on the All-Ireland Intermediate champions but their comprehensive 3-18 to 0-10 defeat means that they are out of the title-race for this season.

Despite a goal from Kate O’Keefe in the fifth minute, Antrim fought back to trail 1-3 to 0-4 after ten minutes. However a series of seven points from Hayleigh Ryan (six from frees) pulled Cork clear and right on half-time Michelle Murphy swept home a second goal after Caoimhe Duffin had saved the initial effort.

Again in the third quarter, Antrim played well, but as the half wore on Cork pressed home their advantage with a third goal coming from the stick of Izzy O’Reagan.

Antrim were best served by Niamh Donnelly, Roisin McCormick, Maeve Kelly and Amy Boyle.

Elsewhere Kilkenny and Galway both had easy victories. The pair meet on August 3rd with Westmeath ready to take advantage to take advantage of the loser in that game.

Cork: I O’Keefe 1-3, M Murphy 1-2, K O’Keefe 1-1, H Ryan 0-7, 0-6 frees, E Looney 0-2, N O’Riordan 0-2, K Dooley 0-1.

Antrim: K McAleese 0-5, 0-4 frees, R McCormick 0-3, L McNaughton 0-2

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Group 1

Dublin 2-5 Galway 2-17

Kilkenny 3-17 Kildare 0-6

Liberty Insurance Premier Junior Championship Group 1

Clare 2-16 Armagh 1-11

DESPITE 1-7 from Rachael Merry frees, Armagh lost their way during the second half of this Liberty Insurance Premier Junior championship tie in the Athletic Grounds on Saturday.

While Niamh Mulqueen picked up a red card for a dangerous tackle on Orlagh Donnelly that left her with a suspected broken bone in her hand, the loss of Orla and also Colette McSorley to a foot injury had more of an impact on the home side’s performance.

Armagh led 0-9 to 0-6 at the break, but were already struggling to score from open play. Although Leanne Donnelly opened the second half scoring with her third point, Clare had a wider range of scorers and Regan Conway edged them into the lead for the first time in the 47th minute at 0-12 to 0-11.

They pushed on from there with two more points followed by two hand-passed goals from Sinéad O’Keefe in the 51st and 52nd minutes to kill the game.

Armagh now need to win in Roscommon to make the semi-finals, while there were no surprises in the other section with wins for Kerry and Waterford.

Liberty Insurance Premier Junior Championship Group 2

Kerry 0-11 Offaly 0-4

Waterford 3-31 Wicklow 0-0

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Championship

There were no surprises in the Senior championship over the weekend with Cork and Kilkenny safely claiming semi-final spots, while it is Galway v Waterford and Limerick v Tipperary in the quarter-finals at the start of August.

Kilkenny were emphatic 4-23 to 1-13 winners over Limerick at the John Locke’s grounds in Callan.

Limerick were never in contention as Katie Power, Denise Gaule and Michelle Quilty hit four points each for Kilkenny to lead by 0-16 to 0-6 at the interval.

Limerick relied on four points from Niamh Mulcahy to retain some semblance of hope. That was removed within a minute of the restart however as Anne Dalton struck for a goal.

Power, Quilty and Dalton pounced for further goals before Rebecca Delee grabbed a consolation three-pointer for Limerick.

It was also easy for Galway as they returned from Enniscorthy with a 3-25 to 0-4 success to cement second seeding from Group 1 behind the Cats, having led by 2-10 to 0-3 at the change of ends.

In Group 2 Tipperary made seven changes from their regular side and that left them vulnerable to Meath who eventually went down by 0-15 to 0-11 at Donaghmore Ashbourne.

The home team excelled in the first half and that laid the platform to lead by 0-11 to 0-10 in the closing stages, thanks to the contributions of Jane Dolan, Kristina Troy and Megan Thynne.

Tipp scored the last five points however, Nicole Walsh marking an eye-catching return from injury to give them the lead in the 58th minute, and scores from Miriam Campion, Cáit Devane and Grace O’Brien in injury time put a very flattering look on the score-line.

Cork also made a few changes and were caught by Waterford’s first half performance going in at the break 0-6 to 0-4 ahead following five frees from Beth Carton.

After the break however, Cork drew level on the resumption, but Waterford stayed with them until the last ten minutes when Orla Cronin’s goal opened a gap. Niamh McCarthy’s injury-time strike gave Cork a more flattering win than their performance deserved.

Clare and Dublin produced a thrilling draw at Parnell Park, Orlaith Duggan hitting a dramatic injury-time point to grab a deserved 4-5 to 2-11 share of the spoils.

Clare had been dominant in the first half, at the end of which they led by 1-8 to 1-2. That was despite a blistering start from Dublin, who led by five points early on thanks to Aisling Maher's goal, but Clare hit the next nine scores in response.

Mairéad Scanlon shot a goal and six points as the Bannerwomen looked to make a definitive move but it was Dublin who held the whip hand in the second half, hitting 3-1 without replay.

However both teams are safe for next year with Meath facing a relegation play-off against either Offaly or Wexford.

Group 1

Kilkenny 4-23 Limerick 1-13

Galway 3-25 Wexford 0-4

Group 2

Dublin 4-05 Clare 2-11

Tipperary 0-15 Meath 0-11

Waterford 0-7 Cork 2-10

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