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12 Aug 2022

Dowling’s Cats blaze impressive path to All-Ireland decider- The Route to the final

Dowling’s Cats blaze impressive path to All-Ireland decider- The Route to the final

Laura Murphy’s goal helped Kilkenny dethrone Galway in the semi-final. Picture: James Crombie/INPHO

Kilkenny warmed up for the All-Ireland championship by capturing their fourth Leinster title in a row.

The 5-11 to 0-12 win over Dublin saw Miriam Walsh (2-2) and Aoife Doyle (2-1) give the team the perfect platform for their O’Duffy Cup charge, which started with a 550km round trip to the Liatroim Fontenoys ground for a meeting with Down.

Kilkenny made sure they came home with the result they wanted, beating the Mourne women by 1-23 to 1-10. In what was a first ever championship meeting between the counties, Kilkenny led by 1-11 to 0-8 at half-time, the goal coming from Mary O’Connell.

The Cats continued their good form with a home win over Limerick in round two. Limerick were not afforded a gentle introduction to their campaign having started with Galway and while they were competitive in the first half of that tie, they found Kilkenny far too tough a nut to crack altogether at UPMC Nowlan Park, where the Stripeywomen prevailed by 1-21 to 0-6.

Early scores from Denise Gaule (free), Katie Power and Mary O’Connell saw Kilkenny race into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead. Laura Murphy, Miriam Bambrick, Katie Nolan, Julieann Malone and Miriam Walsh piled on the pressure before Aoife Doyle’s goal left them 1-11 to 0-1 up at half-time. They kept the pressure on after the restart, going away to win by 1-21 to 0-6.

The Cats retained their perfect record in round three but had to sweat before getting the better of Antrim in a far more competitive affair at the Dunloy Cúchullains grounds, by 1-15 to 1-9.

The good form continued in round four, when Offaly were put to the sword at UPMC Nowlan Park. A Katie Nolan goal helped Brian Dowling’s side take a 1-13 to 1-1 lead in at half-time, an advantage they retained in their 3-18 to 2-7 victory.

The last of the group games saw Galway catch Kilkenny on the line for a share of the spoils. The 1-17 to 2-14 draw saw the reigning All-Ireland champions finish top of the group on scoring difference and go straight to the semi-finals.

Despite having to play an extra game, Kilkenny showed no signs of sluggishness as they dismantled Dublin in the quarter-final.

Denise Gaule rattled off 1-10, with Miriam Walsh adding 1-3, as they scored a commanding 2-24 to 1-11 win and set up a meeting with Galway in the semi-finals.

That final four game, played in Croke Park, saw Kilkenny dethrone the champs thanks to an inspired performance from netminder Aoife Norris as they fought for a 1-13 to 0-12 win. Laura Murphy’s 37th minute goal gave the Cats an advantage they wouldn’t lose.

Paths to the final

KILKENNY

Group Two
Round One, May 21
Down 1-10, Kilkenny 1-23

Round Two, May 28
Kilkenny 1-21, Limerick 0-6

Round Three, June 11
Antrim 1-9, Kilkenny 1-15

Round Four, June 25
Kilkenny 3-17, Offaly 2-7

Round Five, July 2
Galway 1-17, Kilkenny 2-14

Quarter-final, July 16
Dublin 1-11, Kilkenny 2-24

Semi-final, July 23
Galway 0-12, Kilkenny 1-13

CORK

Group One
Round One, May 21
Wexford 1-6, Cork 2-14

Round Two, May 28
Cork 2-17, Clare 2-5

Round Three, June 4
Dublin 0-9, Cork 2-10

Round Four, June 18
Waterford 0-10, Cork 0-16

Round Five, July 2
Cork 1-16, Tipperary 1-17

Semi-final, July 23
Cork 0-15, Waterford 0-10

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