Kilkenny ease to opening round win in All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship
by Vice-Chairman on the 26th of May 2022
GlenDimplex All-Ireland Senior Championship
By Martin Quilty
Kilkenny made the 550km round trip to Liatroim Fontenoys GAC to take on Down in the first round of the senior Camogie championship.
Down kept their senior status last year so it was the first meeting of the counties at senior level. Kilkenny would have hoped for a good start and they got three points on the board as they prepare for a grueling schedule of games in the next few weeks. They got off to a great start with a couple of points from Denise Gaule.
Down’s Niamh Mallon kept the pressure on with points of her own and by the 6th minute there was just one between the teams 0-6 to 0-5 in favour of the visitors. You would think the long trek to Down might make Kilkenny a bit sluggish at the start but the journey didn’t affect the team at all. Kilkenny have notched up many goals in the lead up to this year’s championship including five against Dublin the last day and it was no surprise then that they would get another in Down. Mary O’Connell who had been in great form during the Leinster championship rattled the Down net on 13 minutes to leave Kilkenny with a six point lead just before the first quarter, O’Connell quickly followed this up with a point from play. Kilkenny were in the driving seat and with such a lead you couldn’t see anything but a win coming from the tie. Down to their credit fought hard and were rewarded on the quarter hour with an Anna Rogan point which was quickly followed up with a Niamh Mallon score. Kilkenny were playing well and just like the Dublin game they spread the ball around well and took their opportunities when they arose.
At the break Kilkenny had a six point advantage, it wasn’t huge but that’s credit to Down who defended very well. Half Time score Kilkenny 1-11 Down 0-8.
Down got off to the perfect start in the second half and reduced that lead to just three within the first minute of the resumption. Anna Rogan putting the ball past Aoife Norris in the Kilkenny goal, it was the boost Down required and you would have expected them to push on after such a fast start to the second half. Kilkenny though never panic under Brian Dowling and Denise Gaule and Mary O’Connell traded scores to bring that lead back up very quickly to 7 points by the third quarter 1-16 to 1-8.
Down kept plugging away at the scores but Kilkenny’s defence had stood firm after conceding the early goal and they weren’t giving away so many frees.
They kept the ball in the Down half of the pitch and kept putting on points which may become crucial for score difference by the end of the group stages. Maybe this was on the Kilkenny players minds as they scored some wonderful points in the second half. By the 50th minute of the game Kilkenny had extended the lead thanks to Denise Gaule who was on fire and now there was nine points in the difference, 1-18 to 1-9. Kilkenny pushed on and scored a further five points before the end to Down’s one.
The final score at the final whistle was Kilkenny 1-23 Down 1-10. It was a case of job done for Brian Dowling who would have been delighted to get the early three points on the table. The team will now play Limerick on May 28 and then another away trip up north to Antrim on June 11. The Limerick game is part of a double header with the Intermediates who play Kildare the same day in their opening game of the Championship. Both games are in UPMC Nowlan Park in what promises to be a fantastic afternoon of Camogie.
Kilkenny – Aoife Norris, Michelle Teehan, Claire Phelan, Tiffanie Fitzgerald, Sarah Crowley, Niamh Deely, Steffi Fitzgerald, Aoife Doyle, Aoife Prendergast, Denise Gaule, Katie Power, Mary O’Connell, Katie Nolan, Miriam Walsh, Julieann Malone.
Subs: Laura Murphy, Ciara Phelan, Miriam Bambrick, Leann Fennelly, Sophie O’Dwyer.
Down – Catherine McGourty, Alannah Savage, Dearbhla Magee, Dearbhla Coleman, Blanaid Savage, Beth Fitzpatrick, Catriona Caldwell, Aoife Keown, Ciara Cowan, Lauren Clarke, Deirbhile Savage, Cassie Fitzpatrick, Anna Rogan, Niamh Mallon, Aimee McAleenan.
Subs: Rhea Smyth, Isabella O’Hare, Neisha McCullough.
Referee- Eamonn Cassidy (Derry)
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