Hurling & Camogie

Very Camogie League round-up: Antrim defeat Down in Ulster derby as Derry, Armagh and Tyrone all win

Very Camogie Leagues Division 1, The Ragg, Tipperary 24/2/2024 
Tipperary vs Galway 
Tipperary’s Casey Hennessy
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Lawlor
Casey Hennessy 24/2/2024 Tipperary’s Casey Hennessy in action against Galway in the Very Camogie Leagues Division 1 at the Ragg, Co Tipperary Picture: INPHO/James Lawlor (©INPHO/James Lawlor ©INPHO/James Lawlor/©INPHO/James Lawlor)

Very Camogie League

Division 1A: Waterford 0-6 Cork 1-6; Tipperary 3-10 Galway 1-13; Kilkenny 1-19 Clare 1-9

GALWAY’s bid for a third consecutive Very National League camogie Division 1A title took a hit on Saturday as three goals and seven points from Eimear McGrath inspired Tipperary to a 3-10 to 1-13 victory at The Ragg.

Carrie Dolan shot eight points for Galway but every time they looked like getting themselves back into the game, McGrath bagged a goal to leave themselves with a mountain to climb.

Tipperary led by 2-6 to 0-8 at half-time and McGrath claimed her hat-track in the 42nd minute with a delightful finish. Galway kept fighting but Siobhán Gardiner’s injury time goal came too late.

The rematch of last August’s All-Ireland final ended with Cork victorious over Waterford again, but this time by a much narrower margin, 1-6 to 0-6.

An Orlaith Cahalane goal put Cork into a five-point lead after ten minutes but three converted frees by Beth Carton brought the Déise back into the game by half-time, trailing by 1-5 to 0-5.

Remarkably, that second half yielded just two scores, Laura Hayes and Sarah Lacey swopping scores.

Kilkenny had a fairly comfortable 1-19 to 0-9 win over Clare at UPMC Nowlan Park, getting off to a good start with a goal from Aoife Doyle in the eighth minute.

It was 1-9 to 0-4 at the interval but Lorna McNamara closed that gap significantly by slamming to the net from a penalty four minutes after the restart. But Kilkenny pushed on for the win.

Antrim Maeve Kelly fires a score over the bar ahead of Megan Kerr of Derry during the Ulster Senior Camogie Championship semi final played at Loughgiel on Saturday 3rd of July 2021. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Maeve Kelly played her first game for Antrim since 2021 in the win over Down on Saturday
Division 1B: Down 1-8 Antrim 2-9; Wexford 2-15 Dublin 0-17; Kerry 1-4 Limerick 3-23

WHAT a dramatic week it has been for the Antrim senior camogie team. Poor turn-outs and training cancelled on a few occasions culminated in the management team of Brian Kearney and Mark McFadden appointed in November stepping away midweek.

There then was a scramble to get enough players and a stand in manager for their opening league game on Saturday against Down.

When they got to Attical, they had more than enough to field a team and went on to win the game with the aid of two first half goals from Annie Lynn.

In fact the Loughgiel ace hit two goals and two points from the 2-5 to 0-3 lead they built up after 23 minutes.

Maeve Kelly, in her first match in Saffron since the 2021 All-Ireland final, was also on the mark twice in that opening period.

However, Down’s player of the match Grace Cunningham grabbed 1-1 at the start of the second half and the home side were right back in the frame.

Roisín McCormick (free) and Annie Lynn responded with points that Cunnigham and Aoife McDowell cancelled. McCormick and Saoirse Sands then exchanged points as did defender Christine Lavery and Cunningham during the last 10 minutes.

However time ran out on the home side as Antrim began to tire. The Saffrons will welcome the league points ahead of a couple of tough games while they try to re-group.

Antrim travel to Wexford next weekend in what should be a much sterner test after last season’s Division 1B finalists beat Dublin by 2-15 to 0-17.

Down also have a tough test ahead with a trip to Limerick who, as expected, romped to a 25 points’ victory over last year’s Division 2A winners Kerry

Antrim: A Lynn 2-3, R McCormick 0-3, M Kelly 0-2, C Laverty 0-1

Down: G Cunningham 1-3, A Murphy and A McDowell 0-2 each, S Sands 0-1

Division 2A: Carlow 1-7 Offaly 5-13; Cavan 1-2 Derry 3-19; Meath 0-13 Westmeath 2-7

IF the Derry management was a little annoyed at the manner in which the team struggled to a first round victory over Carlow last week, they should have little complaint after witnessing a fairly one-sided encounter against Cavan in Kingspan Breffni on Saturday.

Derry scored 3-19, but missed quite a few other chances in a game they completely dominated. They have left Cavan searching for positives as the Breffni Blues try to get a win from their remaining games to stay up in Division Two.

The home side only recorded a Niamh Keenaghan point over the first half and trailed by 2-8 to 0-1 at the break.

Áine Barton missed last week’s win over Carlow, but returned to hit the first three points. Both goals came just ahead of Keenaghan’s point, the first from Bríd Rogers after eight minutes and the second from Jackie Donnelly in the 14th minute.

Donnelly hit the net again in the 36th minute and everyone in the Derry forward line was on target before Shanise Fitzsimons scored the Cavan goal in the 48th minute.

Elsewhere in the division Offaly recovered from last week’s narrow defeat by Westmeath by scoring 5-13 against Carlow in Network Dr Cullen Park.

In the other game both Meath and Westmeath maintained their unbeaten records, their head to head ending in a 0-13 to 2-7 draw.

Holly Dowdall scored the Westmeath goal in the opening half, but they still trailed by 0-8 to 1-4 at the break. A 42nd minute goal from Megan Dowdall put Westmeath ahead but Amy Gaffney’s fourth point of the half in the third minute of added time rescued a draw for Meath who now travel to Derry on March 9th in a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final and replay

Derry: J Donnelly 2-1, B Rogers 1-3, Á Barton 0-10, A Cassidy and E McGuigan 0-2 each, A Lennon 0-1

Cavan: S Fitzsimons 1-0, N Keenaghan 0-2

Division 3A: Kildare 2-12 Laois 3-14; Armagh 5-15 Roscommon 4-10

THERE were three goals in the first four minutes as Armagh got their Division 3A campaign off to a good start on Saturday.

Claire Curly was first to hit the net after just 40 seconds but Armagh responded with goals from Rachel Merry and Sinéad Quinn to take a lead they never lost.

Roscommon remained a tough challenge but Quinn grabbed a third goal in the 14th minute and they led by 3-4 to 1-2 at the end of the first quarter and stretched the gap to 3-9 to 1-7 by half-time.

Goals from Erin McDermott and Niamh Forker in the 41st minute cancelled each other out and Armagh were well in control when they conceded two further goals to Síofra Finneran and Rachel Fitzmaurice in the last five minutes.

However Caoimhe McKenna hit back with a fifth goal for the home side in added time.

Armagh’s next game is away to Laois who edged home 3-14 to Kildare’s 2-12 in a tight encounter in Manguard Park on Saturday.

Armagh: S Quinn 2-5, R Merry 1-6, 0-4 frees, N Forker 1-1, C McKenna 1-0, T Maxwell, E O’Kane and C Geoghegan 0-1 each

Roscommon: S Finneran 1-3, C Curley, R Fitzmarice and E McDermott 1-0 each, S Fallon 0-5, 2 frees, S Dooley 0-2

Division 3B: Dublin 2-28 Antrim 0-1 Limerick 4-20 Down 0-4

THERE is a clear gap between north and south in this development group and it was evident in Saturday’s scorelines.

Cora Henderson was Antrim’s only scorer while Niamh McGrath accounted for all four Down points in their 4-30 to 0-4 loss

Division 4: Wicklow 2-17 Louth 0-2 Tyrone 5-18 Mayo 0-13

TYRONE got their Division 4 campaign off to the perfect start with victory over Mayo on Saturday afternoon.

They were quickly off the mark with points from Cara Little, Lara Devlin (two) and Áine Cunningham before Mayo got on the scoreboard with a point from Brona Joyce.

However the home side pushed on with a goal from newcomer Becky Santos and they led by 1-9 to 0-5 at the break.

While Mayo fought hard to get back in the frame during the second half Tyrone goals from Devlin, Róisín McErlean and Cara Little knocked them back each time and the Red Hand girls ran out comfortable winners.

Tyrone’s next game is on Saturday week against Wicklow who beat Louth fairly comfortably in the other game in the group.

Tyrone: R McErlean 1-6, C Little 1-5, L Devlin 1-4, B Santos 1-0, A Cunningham 0-2, O Farley 0-1, Mayo 1-0 og,

Mayo: L Keane 0-4, E Delaney and C Greally 0-2 each, L Greally, H Tener, K Scahill, B Joyce 0-1 each