Hurling and camogie

Tough opening for new Down management in National Camogie League

Tipperary's Grace O'Brien is challenged by Aoife Keown and Clara Cowan of Down during the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division One match at The Ragg Picture: Tommy Grealy/Inpho
SÉAMAS McALEENAN

Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues Division One: Tipperary 3-16 Down 0-03

DOWN’S new management was always going to struggle to get a result in the county’s first Littlewoods Ireland Division One tie in over two decades.

They were playing a top four side away from home and without Niamh Mallon, the most prolific scorer in last year’s championship, as well as a few other very experienced heads.

The size of their task grew after just six minutes when they found themselves 2-2 to 0-0 down after Claire Hogan and Casey Hennessy rattled their net.

Ciara Fitzsimons and Aoife Keown pointed for Down in response but when Jenny Grace registered Tipp’s third goal at the beginning of the second quarter, there was no way back.

Grace O’Brien, Róisín Howard and Clodagh McIntyre all pointed and it was 3-9 to 0-2 by the interval.

Tipperary were also short a few of what you would call their championship side, but they had too much experience for this relatively young Down side. However, Tipp will only know their true potential against tougher opposition.

New Down manager Paul Donnelly knew the difficulty of this opening game.

“It was a tough first outing for us against one of the best teams in Ireland in very challenging conditions," he said.

“Our main focus was to compete throughout the game and give a number of new and developing players an experience of Division One camogie. We would all hope to learn from that.”

Elsewhere, Limerick began well in their quest to topple league champions Kilkenny and they led by a point early on thanks to scores from Caoimhe Lyons and Rebecca Delee.

Niamh Deely, Miriam Walsh and Aoife Doyle had responded though when Katie Nolan struck for a 12th-minute goal and that took the wind out of the Shannonsiders’ sails.

The gap continued to extend but Delee’s goal midway through the second half brought them to within six points again.

Late points from Grace Walsh and Katie Nolan, however, secured the league points.

Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues, Division 2: Meath 3-8 Derry 3-5

WHILE Antrim made the journey to John Mitchel Park, Tralee count with a resounding victory in their opening game in the Littlewoods Ireland Division Two camogie league on Sunday, Derry struggled with the conditions as much as with Meath in Ashbourne a day earlier.

 

The Oak Leaf chose to play with the aid of the strong wind on Saturday and it looked to be a good call when Gráinne McNicholl scored two goals in the first eight minutes against the team that put them out of the Intermediate championship last summer.

However, Derry never really got to grips with the weather conditions and were just 2-3 to 1-3 ahead at half-time, Áine McNerney scoring Meath's goal in the 24th minute.

When McNerney scored her side’s second goal in the 46th minute Meath were in the lead for the first time and Derry had only added a point to their first half total.

A couple of minutes later, Emma O'Connell added a third goal a few minutes later and this prompted a response from the visitors. They hit back with 1-1, the goal coming from Dervla O’Kane after 55 minutes and the gap was down to a single point.

However Meath were able to dig out another couple of points and they were enough to see them go top of the group.

New Derry manager Martin Coulter was of course short the Slaughtneil and Eoghan Rua players still involved in the club championships. However, he will be disappointed with the result, but may have found a couple of girls new to the inter-county scene.

In Tralee, Antrim were much better than the home side and led by 2-10 to 0-1 at the break. The second half became even more one-sided, the Saffrons finishing with 9-19.

The other game in their group didn’t take place but Antrim will know they will get a different type of game when Galway travel north in a fortnight’s time.

Meath: Á McNerney (2-2), E O'Connell (1-0), A Gaffney (0-2), G Coleman (0-2), J Dolan (0-2)

Derry: G McNicholl (2-0), D O'Kane (1-0), Á McAllister (0-3), A Gorman (0-1), A McGlone (0-1)

Littlewoods Ireland Camogie Leagues results

Division One

Tipperary 3-16 Down 0-3

Kilkenny 1-18 Limerick 1-10

Division Two

Cork 0-9 Wexford 0-14

Meath 3-8 Derry 3-5

Westmeath 0-4 Waterford 0-14

Kilkenny 3-8 Tipperary 0-7

Kerry 0-1 Antrim 9-19

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Hurling and camogie