Cats recover from Rogan goal to deny Down major upset
Glen Dimplex Senior Championship Group Two: Down 1-10 Kilkenny 1-23
WHEN Anna Rogan fired home a super goal a minute into the second half, the home supporters in Liatroim sensed that Down might be capable of a shock result in their opening round game with Kilkenny in the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior championship.
However, Kilkenny simply stepped on the gas with three frees from Denise Gaule and another point from Mary O’Connell to move to 1-15 before Niamh Mallon from a free recorded Down’s 10th point.
Nevertheless this was a much improved performance from Down who, on their last outing three weeks ago, lost their Ulster senior title to Antrim.
The whole team worked very hard throughout and didn’t allow many goal chances to the Leinster champions with Dearbhla Magee player of the match at full-back. At the other end of the field, Niamh Mallon as usual took up the scoring challenge, while Lauren Clarke and Cassie Fitzpatrick provided good support.
Down, however, conceded too many frees and were punished by Denise Gaule who didn’t miss a single shot at the target over the hour.
Although Kilkenny opened with three points in three minutes, Down settled and by the 12th minute, Niamh Mallon had scored three from play and another from a free to close the gap to 0-6 to 0-4.
However, a goal and a point from Mary O’Connell in the 18th minute widened the gap for Kilkenny. Although Down hung in, they still trailed by 1-11 to 0-8 at half time.
Rogan’s goal came right after the break. Aimee McAleenan’s free was gathered by Niamh Mallon and her carefully weighted pass put Rogan in for the goal that momentarily lifted the home support.
But by the time Mallon scored Down’s first point of the second half in the 44th minute there were seven between the teams. Kilkenny then pulled away in the final quarter, outscoring the home side by seven points to one, with Dearbhla Magee picking up a second yellow card as the game went into added time.
The final scoreline will have been expected but there will be plenty of optimism in the Down camp as they prepare for the Ulster derby against Antrim on Saturday.
GALWAY, who are in the same group as Antrim and Down, easily won their opening defence of the title with a 4-11 to 1-6 win over Limerick at Pearse Stadium.
Niamh Hanniffy got the first of Galway’s four goals in the 11th minute while Carrie Dolan finished brilliantly with a one-handed strike just before the interval to give the champions a 2-1 to 0-4 lead into the wind.
Hanniffy went through the gears to complete a hat-trick of goals, while Ailish O’Reilly finished with four points. Caoimhe Costelloe’s goal from a free brought her tally to 1-5 for Limerick.
In the other group, injury-time points from Susan Daly and Chloe Morey secured a share of the spoils for Clare with Tipperary at The Ragg, 0-10 each.
Elsewhere, last year’s beaten finalists Cork began their championship programme with a 2-14 to 1-6 success over Wexford at Bellefield.
Amy O’Connor’s pace and finishing saw her bag 2-4, but a Joanne Dillon goal early in the second half brought Wexford within five points. Cork however stepped up a gear to win comfortably.
Meanwhile Dublin’s improvement under Adrian O’Sullivan continues as they defeated Waterford at Walsh Park by 1-11 to 0-12 after leading by 1-8 to 0-8 at the break.
Aisling Maher scored the all-important goal in the 25th minute goal.
Beth Carton hit six points for Waterford including an equaliser five minutes from the end. However Maher restored the Dubs’ advantage from a free and Aisling O’Neill added another point before the end.
Down: C McGourty, A Savage, D Magee, D Coleman, B Savage, B Fitzpatrick, C Caldwell, O Boyle, C Cowan, L Clarke, D Savage, C Fitzpatrick, A Rogan (1-0), N Mallon (0-9, 0-4 frees), A McAleenan (0-1).
Subs: N McCullough for C Fitzpatrick (49), I O’Hare for A Rogan (55), R Smyth for A Savage (57)
Kilkenny: A Norris, M Teehan, C Phelan, T Fitzgerald, G Walsh, S Crowley 0-2, S Fitzgerald, A Doyle, A Prendergast, D Gaule (0-13, 0-10 frees), K Power (0-1), M O’Connell (1-3), K Nolan, M Walsh (0-2), J Malone.
Sub: L Murphy for S Crowley (49), M Banbrick for M Teehan (54).
Referee: EP Cassidy (Derry)