A SHARP performance helped Kilkenny move into pole position at the top of camogie’s Division One league table.
The Cats put some daylight between themselves and their rivals as they wrapped up their second win of the campaign by beating old rivals Tipperary at Semple Stadium on Sunday.
The game, played as a curtain raiser to the National Hurling League clash between the two counties, saw Kilkenny take a firm grip on the game almost from throw-in.
In control right from the get-go, Kilkenny were dominant around the middle of the field with Collette Dormer and Aisling Dunphy putting in fine displays. The Tipperary forwards got little change from the Kilkenny backs, picking off just one point from play in the first half.
Kilkenny had no such problems. While they looked dangerous in every attack, they got their due reward on 20 minutes thanks to a fine goal from Leanne Fennelly.
The breakthrough came with a move that started down the left. Captain Michelle Quilty sent in a lovely crossfield ball that was picked up by Fennelly, who smashed the sliotar past Ciara Holohan in the Tipperary goal.
That goal, added to three free from Aoife Neary and scores from Ann Dalton, Michelle Quilty and a Fennelly point, left Kilkenny comfortably ahead at the break (1-5 to 0-3).
The second half was a different affair, as the Noresiders found it hard to shake off a renewed Tipp. Kilkenny still held the upper hand but the Premier County, strengthened by the growing presence of Caoimhe Maher in the game, started to make gains.
However, hopes of a comeback by the hosts were snuffed out with 54 minutes on the clock. Michelle Quilty made sure of that, punishing a mistake in the Tipperary backline when she beat two backs and rifled the sliotar to the back of the net. Although Maher pulled an injury-time goal back for the hosts, it wasn’t enough to deny Kilkenny their second win on the spin and a two-point lead at the top of the table.
It was another fine display from Kilkenny who now look forward to the visit of Cork to Nowlan Park in a fortnight’s time in what is sure to be the tie of the round.
SCORERS: Kilkenny - Leanne Fennelly (1-2), Aoife Neary (0-5, 0-4 frees 0-1 pen), Michelle Quilty (1-1), Ann Dalton (0-1). Tipperary - Nicole Walshe (0-4 frees); Caoimhe Maher (1-0); Cait Devane (0-2); Noreen Flanagan, Siobhan McGrath (0-1 each).
Kilkenny - E. Kavanagh, M. Power, K. McDonald, J. Frisby, G. Walsh, E. Aylward, C. Phelan, C. Dormer, A. Dunphy, L. Fennelly, A. Dalton, E. Keane, A. Neary, E. Comerford, M. Quilty. Subs: S. Farrell for E. Comerford, D. Gaule for E Keane.
Tipperary - C. Holohan, N. Kelly, S. Ryan, D. Dunne, G. Grace, J. Kirwan, A. Eviston, B. Quinn, M. Graham, N. Walshe, C. Devane, N. Flanagan, C. Kennedy, A. Kennedy, A. Flanagan. Subs: S. McGrath for A. Fogarty, C. Maher for A. Kennedy.
The Kilkenny intermediates bagged the first win of their Division Two campaign when they beat Tipp by 3-13 to 1-8 at The Ragg on Saturday.
Like the senior side the Cats were in control here from the off, with goals from Ann Dalton, Aine Kinsella and Mags Fennelly setting the team on its way. There were some strong displays from Shelly Farrell, Denise Gaule, Kelly Ann Cottrell, Claire Aylward, Mags Fennelly and Niamh Bambrick also, setting the side up nicely as they too prepare for the visit of Cork in the next round.
It was a bad weekend for the county under-16s, with both the A and B panels lost to Dublin in the Leinster championship in Clara on Sunday. The A team were beaten by 2-3 to 0-4 while the B side lost on a 2-7 to 2-1 scoreline.
Both team will now be looking forward to the Leinster semi-finals, which will be held on Bank Holiday Monday.
The Co Camogie Board has come up with a novel way of seeking sponsorship for their senior panel.
For a E50 donation, companies will be entered into a draw from which one will be picked at random. The winner will then see their company’s name adorn the senior team’s jersey for the 2013 campaign.
The draw will be held on Thursday, March 21 in The Springhill Court Hotel. Kilkenny senior hurler Tommy Walsh will be present to draw the winner.
Full details of the sponsorship draw and contact details for the organisers, are available from www.kilkennycamogie.com.