Hurling and camogie

Tipperary can halt Waterford camogie history makers

Tipperary's Orla O'Dwyer and Waterford's Niamh Rockett pictured ahead of their knockout clash in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championshipthis weekend. Picture: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Séamas McAleenan

Cork and Kilkenny are already through to the semi-finals of the 87th All-Ireland title-race.

Today (SATURDAY) there is a quarter-final double header in Páirc Uí Chaoímh with Tipperary playing Waterford at 5.30pm followed by Dublin v Galway at 7.15pm. Both games are live on RTÉ Two.

There is also the final round of fixtures in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate championship.

In Group 1 Down are away to Laois and Derry home to Carlow with the two Ulster teams and Laois all in with a chance of claiming the last semi-final spot. Cork already have qualified.

Antrim will play Westmeath in Group 2, but neither team can progress to the knock-out stages. Galway and Tipperary have those places sewn up with a game each still to play.

In the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Junior championship Armagh will reach the semi-finals if they use home advantage to beat Roscommon, while in the other group, Kerry's fate is in their own hands.

They play second placed Offaly with the loser probably exiting the competition as third placed Limerick can leap-frog into second if they beat bottom team Clare.

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship quarter-finals

Saturday August 4: Páirc Uí Chaoímh, Cork: 5.30pm: Tipperary v Waterford

TODAY is a massive occasion for Waterford camogie.

Their last appearance in the knock-out stages of the race for the O'Duffy Cup was in 1945, when they had home advantage in the All-Ireland final against Antrim.

The Saffrons beat them in Cappoquin that autumn day and Déise camogie went on a downward spiral in the decades that followed.

Things only began to change direction around a decade ago when under-age and schools' successes were quickly followed by an appearance in the 2009 All-Ireland Junior final.

They lost to Westmeath however and then lost in a replay the following year to Antrim. But it was third time lucky for the team when they defeated Down in the 2011 final by 2-11 to 1-13 adding to the National League success earlier in the year.

Those wins moved them up a grade, but it took another four years before they won the Intermediate championship and Division 2 league double.

Now three years after joining the top table they have qualified for the senior quarter-finals by defeating both Clare and Limerick. Indeed in an earlier round they ran Kilkenny to six points – so they could well be in with a good chance of upsetting the odds in today's opening game in Páirc Uí Chaoímh.

Tipperary had a poor league campaign to finish fourth in a group of five.

The championship has been better because of their capacity to edge home in close games. It took late goals to beat Wexford (1-14 to 2-8) and Offaly (1-14 to 2-10) and in their final game they came from five points down to draw with Dublin on 0-13 each.

Cáit Devane scored seven points in that drawn game and she is the championship's top scorer after the group games. Beth Carton scored 1-9 out of 1-11 in Waterford's last game.

So both teams are heavily dependent on their free-takers who also happen to be very accurate from general play.

Tipperary have slipped from the lofty position they held 1999-2006 when they contested every All-Ireland final and took the O'Duffy Cup on five occasions. They are still formidable opposition for a team that is battling its way slowly on an upward curve of progress.

It is a very difficult game to call and Ballymena referee Owen Elliott may well have to go to extra-time to produce a semi-finalist. The neutral would celebrate with the Déise if they make it through.

Verdict: Tipperary – but only just

7.15pm: Dublin v Galway

DUBLIN were the team that pulled in the neutral support last year as they reached a first semi-final in a long time. That was after they beat Wexford by 1-16 to 0-12 in the quarter-finals.

They also gave a good account of themselves in going down by 2-11 to 0-9 against the then reigning champions Kilkenny in the semi-final.

Those high points last year placed a bit more expectation on them this season and they seemed to be in the easier league group, but still didn't make the semi-finals.

Championship didn't start too promising either – a very heavy defeat to Cork. But three wins and then a draw on the final day with Tipperary has seen them through to the knock-out stages.

Galway by contrast looked very sharp in their opening three games which they won comfortably. However in the final game they came up seven points short against Kilkenny and have had to re-assess their progress chart.

On paper the westerners look the stronger outfit with many of the All-Ireland winning team of 2013 still in harness. They also contested the 2015 final and all that experience is invaluable, particularly against a team like Dublin that is trying hard to make the breakthrough.

Dublin have momentum, but will it trump experience?

Verdict: Galway to win, but Dublin should be in contention near the end.

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Group 1

Saturday 5pm: Rathdowney: Laois v Down; Swatragh: Derry v Carlow

DOWN's fate is totally under their own control. If they win today, Derry could well finish their group games undefeated and still not reach the semi-finals later in the month.

That is the scenario that has unfolded after some unexpected results in this group.

Cork followed their league Division 2 title win in April by topping the group and they are already in the championship semi-final. But they dropped points in Swatragh when Derry were unlucky not to hold on for a victory.

That draw should have sealed Down's fate. All Derry needed to do was beat two teams stuck at the bottom of the group but they slipped to a 2-8 to 0-14 draw down in Laois while Down were being well beaten in Newry by Cork.

Down had been the team to watch after a remarkable turnaround in fortunes that began with a win over Kildare in the Division 2 relegation play-off and followed through to a first Ulster title in 13 years. That brought them through to the group stages of the All-Ireland and a draw with Derry and win in Carlow suggested that they would really put it up to Cork in Páirc Esler.

Instead they slumped to a 12 points' defeat and were shocked when news filtered through as they left the pitch that qualification was still wide open for them.

Expectation probably got in the way of reality three weeks ago. Down are not yet ready to take out a team like Cork in the championship – but neither are they 12 points off the recognised favourite for the title after two successive final defeats.

Laois could stop them in their tracks, especially as they have home advantage for the game.

But really Down are a better team than the midlanders and just need a solid start to get back on track in this championship.

A little luck was missing in Newry; Niamh Mallon crashed an early shot off the crossbar and Fionnuala Carr's brilliantly struck first half penalty was saved. Even with those efforts hitting the net, they may not have won the game, but they would have run it close.

If Martina Rooney can get a positive response to that defeat from her team, they will take the initiative and claim the victory.

If they don't, everything points to a Derry win in the other game and then the Oak Leaf will make the knock-out stages.

Derry are at home, and Carlow are at a low ebb, having lost to Cork and Down at home and achieved only a draw in the other game.

Verdict: Wins for Down and Derry

June 16: Cork 5-18 Carlow 0-6, Down 0-18 Derry 1-15

June 23: Carlow 0-14 Down 2-13, Cork 3-23 Laois 0-6

July 7: Derry 0-11 Cork 0-11, Laois 1-6 Carlow 0-9.

July 14: Down 0-6 Cork 0-18, Laois 2-8 Derry 0-14

Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points Diff Points

Cork 4 3 1 0 65 10

Down 3 1 1 1 -7 4

Derry 3 0 3 0 0 3

Laois 3 0 2 1 -26 2

Carlow 3 0 1 2 -32 1

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Group 2

Saturday 4 at 5pm: Coralstown, Kinnegad: Westmeath v Antrim

A dead rubber game with both teams out of the qualification zone. Both probably started the competition with high aspirations. Antrim fell early and Westmeath stumbled to a single point defeat in Galway and then lost by two in Tipperary.

Verdict: Westmeath to get a little consolation at the end of a disappointing campaign

Sunday 5th

2.30pm: Athenry: Galway v Kilkenny

Galway could well slip up here after a fine campaign. Two single point wins and a draw could all have finished differently, but they rode their luck and are in the semi-finals.

Kilkenny started with two great wins but narrow defeats to Westmeath and Tipperary have closed the door on success this season. But here is a chance to prove to themselves that they are close enough to the top.

Verdict: Galway to win and face an Ulster side in the semi-finals.

5pm: Hawksfield: Kildare v Tipperary

Tipperary are already through to the semi-final ahead of this their easiest game. They will win with plenty to spare and may even get a chance to run their subs' bench. However the chance of them avoiding Cork in the semi-final rests on Kilkenny getting something out of their final game in Galway.

Verdict: Tipperary

June 16: Kilkenny 3-14 Antrim 0-6, Galway 3-11 Tipperary 2-14, Westmeath 6-13 Kildare 2-5

June 30: Antrim 3-07 Galway 2-11, Kilkenny 4-15 Kildare 0-6, Tipperary 3-13 Westmeath 4-8

July 7: Kildare 0-6 Galway 4-16, Westmeath 2-13 Kilkenny 2-7

July 21st: Antrim 4-17 Kildare 1-12, Tipperary 2-13 Kilkenny 2-10, Galway 1-15 Westmeath 0-17

League Table Liberty Insurance Intermediate Camogie Championship Group 2

Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points Diff Points

Galway 4 3 1 0 26 10

Tipperary 4 3 1 0 5 10

Kilkenny 4 2 0 2 30 6

Westmeath 4 2 0 2 23 6

Antrim 4 1 0 3 -4 3

Kildare 4 0 0 4 -80 0

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Championship Group 1

Saturday at 5pm: Fr McNamara Pitch: Clare v Limerick; Drumcullen: Offaly v Kerry

There is nothing certain about this group as yet. Kerry are top but are away to an Offaly who have a great chance of getting through. However Offaly would need to win by at least 10 points and Limerick also run away with the second match for Kerry not to make the semi-final.

Limerick and Clare should be close enough, but Offaly need something from their game to make a semi-final.

Verdict: Kerry and Limerick to make the semi-finals.

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Championship Group 1:

July 14: Kerry 2-11 Clare 0-6, Limerick 0-11 Offaly 1-7

July 21st: Kerry 1-15 Limerick 0-8, Clare 0-11 Offaly 1-9

League Table Liberty Insurance Premier Junior Camogie Championship Group 1

Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points Diff Points

Kerry 2 2 0 0 21 6

Offaly 2 1 0 1 0 3

Limerick 2 1 0 1 -9 3

Clare 2 0 0 2 -12 0

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Championship Group 2

Saturday at 5pm: Athletic Grounds: Armagh v Roscommon

Dublin are already through to the Junior semi-final, and the winner of this Armagh v Roscommon game will join them.

Armagh have the home advantage, while neither team has built any momentum this year

Verdict: Armagh by a short head

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior Championship Group 2:

July 14: Dublin 0-22 Armagh 1-8

July 22: Dublin 2-9 Roscommon 0-5

Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points Diff Points

Dublin 2 2 0 0 21 6

Roscommon 1 0 0 1 -10 0

Armagh 1 0 0 1 -11 0

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