All-Ireland and League champions, Kilkenny lost a tight encounter to Cork in this O’Duffy Cup final repeat at Dunmore on Saturday.
However, Kilkenny’s bid to win a second consecutive Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 1 title is still on course.
They play Galway next Sunday in the semi-final.
Cork had secured the top qualifying spot from Group 1 before this game, but they were not short on motivation having lost last year’s All-Ireland final to the Cats.
Cork scored the opening two points from placed balls through Katriona Mackey. Denise Gaule scored Kilkenny’s first point in the ninth minute, also from a placed ball.
Over the next six minutes there was a lull in the scoring, but play moved from end to end frantically.
In the 15th minute Katriona Mackey (C) slotted over another placed ball. From the puck-out Julieann Malone (K) gathered and took a shot at goal, but it tailed wide.
In the 17th minute, following a clearance from the home defence, Kelly Ann Doyle (K) collected and burst through and laid the ball off to Julieann Malone for a lovely point.
Cork goalie Aoife Murray pucked out a long ball, but it was caught by Anne Dalton (K) and from 60 metres she struck the ball back over the bar.
In the 20th minute Kilkenny got their first chance on goal through some lovely inter-play between four players. Anne Dalton got on to the end ball, only to see her batted attempt go just wide.
Katriona Mackey (C) and Kelly Ann Doyle (K) exchanged points to leave the score after 21 minutes: 0-4 each.
Katriona Mackey and Chloe Sigerson scored two excellence points for Cork in the 25th and 29th minutes. Denise Gaule then scored a well worked point for Kilkenny from play.
Cork finished the half the stronger, scoring two points by Amy O’Connor and Katriona Mackey to leave the half time score reading 0-8 to 0-5 in Cork’s favour.
From the start of the second half Julieann Malone made a darting run towards the Cork goal only to be stifled by three Cork players on the line.
Eight minutes passed before a ball broke in the Kilkenny defence and there was a race for it between Meighan Farrell (K) and Katriona Mackey (C).
The referee awarded a free to Cork after a clash, which Mackey slotted over the bar. In the 39th minute Aisling Dunphy (K) split the posts to leave the score 0-9 to 0-6.
During the next 11 minutes there was another lull in the scoring, but the play moved briskly from end to end. During this period two yellow cards were issued to a player from each side.
In the 49th minute Julieann Malone (K) raced through at full pace from midfield and in full stride she pointed the Cats to within two of Cork.
But the gap was back to three points shortly afterwards when Julie White (C) slotted over. Michelle Quilty (K) scored two placed balls in the 52nd and 54th minutes to bring it back to the minimum.
Fiona Neville (C) pointed from 50 metres after a nice pass from Katriona Mackey. From the puck-out the ball went up the line. It was cleared by Cork and played on towards midfield.
The Kilkenny defence blocked the ball, but the referee blew his whistle for a free to Cork, which Katriona Mackey again slotted over.
This all happened despite the sideline official waving her flag for a lineball which the referee ignored.
The Noresiders finished strongly with a brace of points from Miriam Walsh to setting up a grandstand finish.
However, they couldn’t find the leveller after a tough and testing battle.
Before the game a minute’s silence was observed for Sarah Bardon, a 13-year-old camogie player from Westmeath, who passed away last week.
Kilkenny are in action in the League semi-final against Galway in Thurles on Sunday (4pm).
SCORERS: Kilkenny - Denise Gaule (0-2, one free); Michelle Quilty (0-2, frees); Julieann Malone, Miriam Walsh (0-2 each); Anne Dalton, Kelly Anne Doyle, Aisling Dunphy (0-1 each). Cork – Katriona Mackey (0-8, five frees); Chloe Sigerson, Amy O’Connor, Julia White, Fiona Neville (0-1 each).
Kilkenny - Emma Kavanagh, Aisling Nolan, Catherine Foley, Grace Walsh, Claire Phelan, Meighan Farrell (c), Michelle Teehan, Anne Dalton, Aisling Dunphy, Jenny Reddy, Miriam Walsh, Michelle Quilty, Julieann Malone, Kelly Ann Doyle, Denise Gaule. Subs: Laura Murphy for Grace Walsh, Grace O’Donnell for Kelly Ann Doyle (inj), Jenny Clifford for Michelle Quilty, Ann Marie Lennon, Katie Power, Sarah Crowley, Miriam Frisby, Stacey Quirke, Aine Gannon, Sarah Kent, Roisin Phelan, Colette Dormer.
Cork – Aoife Murray, Leanne O’Sullivan, Laura Treacy, Chloe Sigerson, Pamela Mackey, Gemma O’Connor, Rena Buckley (c), Aisling Thompson, Jennifer Barry, Amy O’Connor, Orla Cronin, Julia White, Katriona Mackey, Niamh McCarthy, Linda Collins. Subs: Fiona Neville for Linda Collins, Libby Coppinger for Leanne O’Sullivan, Amy Lee, Eimear O’Sullivan, Hannah Looney, Rachel O’Shea, Orla Cotter
In the last round of the minor ‘A’ All-Ireland championship on Sunday in Galway, the home side beat Kilkenny, 5-18 to 2-15. The Cats missed out on a semi-final spot on scoring difference
Kilkenny’s scorers: Danielle Morrissey (2-8), Eadaoin Murphy (0-2) Katie Brennan, Aoife Doyle, Eimear Farrell, Ruth Kent, Niamh Deely (0-1 each).
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