Played as a curtain raiser to the Hurling League clash between the same counties, Kilkenny suffered their first defeat in the Camogie National League when they lost to Cork in front of a paltry attendance in Nowlan Park, the score finishing at 1-10 to 1-8, writes Michael O’Leary.
Overall, this was a disappointing encounter that lacked the blood and thunder of a real competitive contest. Cork never really had to excel, while the Kilkenny forwards, bar the opening quarter, struggled.
Opening into the strong breeze, Kilkenny led by 1-3 to 0-2 early on with Katie Power on fire. She scored two superb points from play. The goal came in the 7th minute and Power was involved.
Leanne Fennelly won possession in the left corner and her shot goalwards was deflected by a Cork defender into the path of Katie Power, who applied a strong presence in around the goalmouth. There was a mis-hit attempt before Aoife Neary applied the finishing touch.
Neary had a goal chance denied in the 13th minute when her penalty was saved. Kilkenny failed to score during the second quarter as Cork responded strongly.
Briege Corkery pointed from play in the 21st minute before scoring the levelling goal in the 28th minute. Home goalie Emma Kavanagh pulled off a brilliant save in first-half injury-time to deny Katriona Mackey a certain goal at the expense of a 45.
The resulting ’45 was converted by Jennifer O’Leary. The Leesiders led by 1-4 to 1-3 at the interval.
Cork enjoyed the majority of possession afterwards as they gained a stranglehold around the midde area with O’Leary highly effective. However, they squandered two goal chances during the opening 10 minutes, including one from Katriona Mackey who blazed over the crossbar with the goal at her mercy.
Kilkenny drew level by the 40th minute, courtesy of two pointed frees by Aoife Neary.
Cork enjoyed a purple patch which proved decisive. They added five unanswered points between the 44th and 57th minutes. Jennifer O’Leary pointed twice from play along with half-time substitute Julie Mulcahy. Briege Corkery also hit the target.
Kilkenny kept battling, adding late points from an Anne Dalton 45 along with Katie Power and Edwina Keane from play, but Cork held out for a deserved victory.
Kilkenny host Offaly on Sunday knowing that victory will guarantee them a League semi spot.
Best for the Cats were the full-back line of Mairead Power, Kate McDonald and Jacqui Frisby, who all played solidly. Kelly Hamilton was the best player on view and gave a masterclass at wing-back.
Katie Power was Kilkenny’s best attacker, while Leanne Fennelly and Edwina Keane were most effective in the closing quarter.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Kelly Hamilton (Kilkenny)
Making her inter-county re-appearance since the Rower-Inistioge’s championship adventure, Kelly Hamilton gave a superb display. She constantly cleared the sliotar from the half-back line and drove it forward accurately.
Scorers: Cork – Briege Corkery (1-2); Jennifer O’Leary (0-3, 0-1 45); Katriona Mackey, Julie Mulcahy (0-2 each); Eimear O’Sullivan (0-1). Kilkenny – Aoife Neary (1-2, 0-2 frees); Katie Power (0-3); Leanne Fennelly, Anne Dalton (45), Edwina Keane (0-1 each).
Kilkenny – Emma Kavanagh (Rower-Inistioge), Mairead Power (Carrickshock), Kate McDonald (Thomastown), Jacqui Frisby (Ballyhale Shamrocks), Grace Walsh (Tullaroan), Elaine Aylward (Mullinavat), Kelly Hamilton (Rower-Inistioge), Aisling Dunphy (St Brigid’s, Ballycallan), Collette Dormer (Paulstown), Edwina Keane (St Martin’s), Katie Power (Piltown), Denise Gaule (Windgap), Aoife Neary (James Stephens), Leanne Fennelly (Mullinavat), Michelle Quilty, capt (Mullinavat). Subs - Anne Dalton (St Lachtain’s, Freshford) for Quilty; Emma Comerford (Young Irelands, Gowran).
Cork – Jessica Kavanagh, Leah Weste, Maria Walsh, Lynda O’Connell, Denise Cronin, Rena Buckley, Anna Geary(captain), Aisling Thompson, Jennifer O’Leary, Katriona Mackey, Briege Corkery, Eimear O’Sullivan, Sile Burns, Aoife Deasy, Finola Neville. Sub - Julia Mulcahy for Deasy.
Referee: Alan Lagrue (Kildare).