THE RESULT may have been academic, but Kilkenny and Galway still served up a thriller in the senior camogie championship on Saturday.
Despite the fact Cork’s win over Tipp (0-13 to 1-7) ensured both Kilkenny and Galway qualified for the All-Ireland semi-finals, the two teams gave every ounce in pursuit of victory in Duggan Park, Ballinasloe.
The work-rate, commitment, skill and courage displayed by both teams was first class. That would have pleased Anne Downey and her mentors as Kilkenny received a stern test of their credentials.
The difference between the two teams was the contribution of their respective attacking divisions. Kilkenny had just three players on the scoresheet. Five of their nine points came from play, 0-4 of which was scored by Anne Dalton.
Playing with a strong first-half breeze Galway led 0-9 to 0-4 at the interval. That run included three points scored in succession - two by Sandra Tannian - late in the half. It could have been so different, however, as Shelley Farrell teed up Edel Maher for a crack at the target on 22 minutes, but the St Anne’s player’s hand-pass attempt went wide of the mark.
Galway had also squandered a goal chance of their own after winning a 16th minute penalty when Tara Routledge was fouled by Jacqui Frisby. Goalkeeper Susan Earner stepped up, but blazed her effort over the crossbar.
Dalton, who scored 0-3 from play during the opening half, added another pointed early in the second half which, along with an Aoife Neary free, narrowed the deficit. However, Kilkenny endured a 17-minute barren spell as their attacking unit struggled to make an impact.
Orla Kilkenny and substitute Veronica Curtin chipped in with points to restore Galway’s five point lead. Kilkenny introduced Aine Fahey and Michelle Quilty, switches which saw an improvement to their play.
They were awarded a penalty in the 49th minute when Quilty set off for goal on a devastating run, but was fouled in the process. Aoife Neary took the resulting penalty but saw Earner block her shot. Quilty pulled overhead on the rebound, which took a deflection off a defender.
Neary’s pointed 45 was some consolation, but she was denied another goal chance in the 55th minute courtesy of strong Galway defending.
Denise Gaule and Neary (free) added late points for Kilkenny, but the excellent Sandra Tannian concluded the scoring as Galway held on for the win.
Meanwhile, the Kilkenny intermediates concluded their championship campaign with a 3-15 to 1-4 defeat at home to Limerick in Tullaroan, while Kilkenny’s All-Ireland minor semi-final clash with Galway has been rescheduled for this evening (Wednesday). Throw-in at McDonagh Park, Nenagh, is at 7.30pm.
SCORERS: Galway - Niamh Kilkenny, Sandra Tannian (0-3 each); Brenda Hanney (0-2); Aislinn Connolly, Veronica Curtin (0-1 each); Orla Kilkenny (0-1 free), Susan Earner (0-1 pen). Kilkenny - Anne Dalton (0-4); Aoife Neary (0-4, 0-3 frees, 0-1 45); Denise Gaule (0-1).
Galway - S. Earner, T. Manton, S. Cahalane, L. Ryan, A.M. Hayes, T. Maher, H. Cooney, N. Kilkenny, A.M. Starr, O. Kilkenny, S. Tannian, A. Connolly, T. Routledge, B. Hanney, N. Coen. Subs: S. Dervan, V. Curtin, M. Conroy.
Kilkenny - C. Ryan, C. Dormer, C. Doherty, J. Frisby, G. Walsh, E. Keane, E. Aylward, A. Dunphy, R. Jones, A. Neary, A. Dalton, D. Gaule, M. Dargan, E. Maher, S. Farrell. Subs: S.A. Quinlan, A. Fahey, M. Quilty, L. Lyng, M. O’Connor.
Referee - O. Elliott.