Waterford seal National Camogie League final spot with win over Down
Very Ireland National Camogie League Division 1B: Waterford 3-16 Down 0-10; Limerick 2-14 Offaly 1-14
WATERFORD completed the group stages of Division 1B of the Very National Camogie League with a 100 per cent record when they defeated Down in De La Salle on Saturday.
Down, who were already safe in the top flight, and couldn’t qualify for the final, rested Niamh Mallon who has been carrying an injury. Gerra McGrattan started in her place.
Saoirse Sands and Colleen McConnell also came in from the start and over the opening 20 minutes, Down competed well and were on level terms at 0-4 each following three points from Sara Louise Graffin and Dearbhla Magee.
At the other end of the field, however, Waterford cleverly pulled the half-forwards out to leave space and Niamh Rockett and Beth Carton, two of the Decies Allstars, took full advantage. The pair combined in the space of three minutes for Rockett to snatch two goals and Waterford pulled away to lead by 2-8 to 0-6 at the break with Rockett on 2-2 and Carton on five points.
Down were still competing well and tagged on a further four points from Sara Louise Graffin (three) and Lauren Clarke. But they were chasing the game and that meant a few more openings for Waterford to exploit at the back.
Carton added four more points while Tara Power, Niamh Murphy and Natasha Dobbyn also split the posts during the second half. Seven minutes from time, substitute Anne Corcoran scrambled home Waterford's third goal.
The Antrim v Wexford match was postponed and refixed for Sunday, April 2 following a bereavement in the Antrim camp. It means that Waterford will have to wait another week for confirmation of their final opponents.
Meanwhile, Limerick scored the last five points, including two pressure frees from Claire Keating at the death, to eke out a 2-14 to 1-14 victory against Offaly in the relegation battle in Rathkeale. It means that Offaly go down to Division 2A next season.
The scores were even for much of the match, but Offaly hit six points during the third quarter to move into a 1-14 to 2-9 lead in the 46th minute. However they failed to score during the last quarter and the home side took advantage to survive another year in the top flight.
Down: C McGourty, Alannah Savage, A Mallon, R Smyth, B Savage (0-1), D Magee (0-1), D Coleman, O Boyle, C McGilligan, C Fitzsimons (0-1), S Sands, L Clarke (0-1), C McConnell, SL Graffin (0-6, 0-1 free), G McGrattan.
Subs: B Fitzpatrick for C McGilligan, A McDowell for C McConnell, C Coleman for A Mallon, Aoife Savage for B Savage, D Savage for C McConnelly
Waterford: H Acheson, V Faulkner, I Heffernan, L Sheridan; A Landers, R Walsh, M Powell; C Griffin, T Power (0-1); N Murphy (0-1), Beth Carton (0-9, 0-3 frees), S Fitzgerald; O Whelan (0-1) , N Rockett (2-2), N Dobby (0-1)
Sub: A Corcoran (1-1)
Very Ireland National Camogie League Division 1A: Clare 1-10 Dublin 1-10; Cork 1-10 Galway 1-11; Kilkenny 0-14 Tipperary 0-13
A 48th minute goal by Ailish O’Reilly was the key score in yesterday’s Very Camogie League Division 1A tie in Páirc Uí Chaoimh between Cork and Galway.
It gave the visitors the momentum to push on to a 1-11 to 1-10 victory and lines the pair up once more for the final in two weeks. They will also kick-start the senior championship on the first weekend of June when they meet in Ballinasloe.
Galway started the best and five points from Carrie Dolan gave them a lead of 0-6 to 0-2 after 20 minutes. However three great points from Saoirse McCarthy helped Cork to level terms at the break, 0-6 each.
Cork brought that momentum into the early minutes of the second half with Fiona Keating and Sorcha McCartan both adding points. A 42nd minute goal from Emma Murphy seemed to open a gap for Cork, but it was cancelled by O’Reilly who blocked Molly Lynch, the Cork goalie, and stroked the ground shot to the net.
That boosted Galway and three pointed frees from Dolan to bring her tally to nine edged them home.
Tipperary were in prime position on Saturday to claim a spot in the final with Cork, but two injury-time points from Denise Gaule snatched a 0-14 to 0-13 triumph for Kilkenny in a hard-fought tie at UPMC Nowlan Park.
There was never much between the sides in a real dog-fight; they were level on nine occasions. Julianne Malone and Sophie O’Dwyer, who scored eight points between them, kept Kilkenny in touch as Tipperary moved 0-9 to 0-7 clear.
Although Kilkenny pulled level again, Cáit Devane and Eimear Heffernan kept tagging on scores and then Eimear McGrath looked to have grasped a famous win with her fourth point in the third minute of injury time, only for Gaule to snatch victory from her grasp.
Dublin will be relegated to Division 1B despite continuing their progressive arc and securing a 1-10 each draw against Clare at Cusack Park.
It was a first point on the board for Gerry McQuaid’s charges, who led by 0-8 to 0-6 when Eimear Kelly struck for a goal for the home team. The Dubs battled back and, while it wasn’t enough to secure top-tier status in the League, last year’s All-Ireland quarter-finalists showed enough to suggest they can be competitive again in the championship.