A FIRST HALF goal blitz saw Limerick put paid to the Kilkenny intermediate team’s national camogie league (Division Two) title hopes.
Played in front of a pitifully small crowd at Walsh Park, Waterford, the Cats were no match for a slick Limerick outfit who devoured their goal chances when they came.
A first-half goal blitz from the Shannonsiders destroyed Kilkenny. Playing into the wind, Limerick led by 4-6 to 0-8 at the interval, full-forward Mary O’Callaghan blasting home a hat-trick of goals.
Kilkenny began brightly with points from Aine Fahy and Aine Kinsella (free) but the girls from the Treaty County responded, O’Callaghan blasting home a well-taken goal to push her side in front with seven minutes on the clock (1-0 to 0-2).
Two Kinsella frees restored Kilkenny’s lead around the 10 minute mark, but the constantly dangerous Rebecca Delee bagged a 13th minute point to level proceedings.
The winners kicked on from here, adding points through Sarah Carey and Niamh Mulcahy to edge their way back in front. Another Aine Kinsella free was cancelled out by a Mulcahy 45, before Mary O’Callaghan added a second goal in the 23rd minute to leave the advantage at double scores (2-4 to 0-5).
Limerick were on fire at this stage, Delee stretching their lead with another point. That was the spur Kilkenny needed to raise their game - they duly did, outscoring their opponents by three points to one between the 24th and 28th minutes to narrow the gap to four (2-6 to 0-8).
Just when Kilkenny were clawing their way back into contention, they were hit by a double blow late in the half.
O’Callaghan completed her hat-trick at the end of first-half normal time, emphatically blasting home an unstoppable shot following a long diagonal clearance by Limerick centre-back and team captain Michelle Casey.
Caoimhe Costelloe, who starred for the county at under-16 level last year, completed the goalscoring rout in first half injury-time, slotting home a ground shot after Katie Campbell’s initial attempt was blocked.
With the four goal blitz taking the sting out of the game, it was no surprise that proceedings were played out at a slower pace.
Despite taking their foot off the gas Limerick still outscored Kilkenny by 0-6 to 0-4. Costelloe added two points, while Niamh Mulcahy, Rebecca Delee, and Niamh Mulcahy were also on target.
Kilkenny’s second half scoring was spearheaded by two Aine Kinsella frees. Aine Fahey grabbed a point but could have gotten more as her shot seared the bar, while Shelly Farrell fired over a sublime long range effort towards the end.
SCORERS: Limerick - Mary O’Callaghan (3-0); Caoimhe Costelloe (1-2); Niamh Mulcahy (0-5, 0-3 frees, 0-1 45); Rebecca Delee (0-3); Sarah Carey, Marie Keating (0-1). Kilkenny - Aine Kinsella (0-8, 0-7 frees); Aine Fahy (0-2); Shelly Farrell, Denise Gaule (0-1 each).
Kilkenny - Anne-Marie Lennon (Blacks & Whites), Edel Frisby (Ballyhale Shamrocks), Lisa Carey (Thomastown), Ciara Lyng (Rower-Inistioge), Claire Aylward (Mullinavat), Claire Phelan (Lisdowney), Stacey Quirke (St Martin’s, Muckalee), Aine Kinsella (Mullinavat), Sonia Buggy (Dicksboro), Shelly Farrell (Thomastown), Denise Gaule (Windgap), Maeve Mansfield (St Martin’s, Muckalee), Niamh Bambrick (Windgap), Aine Fahy (Tullaroan), Mags Fennelly (Ballyhale Shamrocks). Subs: Aisling Butler (O’Loughlin Gaels), Nessa Farrell (Young Irelands, Gowran), Jane Cullen (Rower-Inistioge).
Limerick - Sile Moynihan, Aideen McNamara, Niamh Ryan, Janet Garvey, Mairead Ryan, Michelle Casey, Judith Mulcahy, Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Sarah Carey, Katie Campbell, Niamh Mulcahy, Rebecca Delee, Caoimhe Costelloe, Mary O’Callaghan, Dympna O’Brien. Subs: Marie Keating, Sarah Crotty.
Referee - Aidan O’Brien (Wexford)