Anne Dalton was on song as Kilkenny got their All-Ireland campaign off to a winning start PICTURE: PAT MOORE
The Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship got off to a pulsating start, with Kilkenny turning around their National League Final reverse at the hands of Galway by 1-13 to 0-14 at Kenny Park.
A fortunate 35th minute goal by Miriam Walsh proved the difference between the sides and though Galway were left licking their wounds at the final whistle, they are sure to have a big say in affairs before the season is over.
Team captain Sarah Dervan was inspirational for the Tribeswomen, while Carrie Dolan shot nine points but Kilkenny, runners-up in the last two Championships after being victorious in 2016, were in no mood to yield.
Ann Downey’s crew got off to a quick start thanks to points from the magnificent Anne Dalton and Walsh, and still held that advantage at the end of the opening quarter, but Galway had the better of proceedings from there to the interval.
Two points from Dolan, and one from Noreen Coen, with Dalton offering the sole reply, left the sides level at 0-6 apiece at the change of ends.
Niamh Kilkenny continued the trend for Cathal Murray’s troops after the resumption with a point and not even Walsh’s goal, which must go down as a goalkeeping error by Sarah Healy, could halt the momentum, points from Dolan and Coen restoring parity despite playing into the wind.
With midfield duo Dalton and Denise Gaule exerting a greater influence however, the visitors edged three points clear, Gaule slotting a brace and the elusive Michelle Quilty also on target. A Dolan pair brought it back to one but Gaule (free) and Dalton were on target in response with time running out.
There was late drama when Galway were awarded a free just outside the 20m line and Healy ventured up to take it. Her powerful rising shot cleared the crossbar by inches however and Kilkenny had prevailed.