Camogie: Rebels’ victory secures semi-final place

Cork made it four wins from four in Group 2 of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship with a 1-13 to 0-11 win over Offaly at St Brendan’s Park in Birr but manager Paudie Murray deemed it their poorest performance of the campaign.

Last year’s beaten finalists must now await the final round of matches next week as well as the quarter-finals before returning to action in the All-Ireland semi-final on August 19. Murray revealed All-Ireland champions Kilkenny along with Galway had representatives in attendance in Birr to run the rule over the Leesiders and maintained that they would not have seen anything to worry them.

“First of all I’m happy with the win,” Murray said. “The negative would be that we never really brought our level of intensity or workrate to compare with the first three games. But in defence of the girls, we had qualified, so the result was irrelevant. We just never got into gear compared to our first three games. Offaly were going to be a tough test anyway. The wind was a factor too.”

Niamh McCarthy and Méabh Cahalane missed out though Murray stated that their absences were largely precautionary. On the plus side of the ledger, Julia White and Eimear O’Sullivan returned to action. Murray hopes a clean bill of health between now and the semi-final.

“You just hope everyone comes through the club championship and that gives us three-and-a-half, four weeks of intense training. We’ve really got to up it to have a chance in the semi-final because this display will not do.”

Offaly, who had Siobhán Flannery (0-6) in fine form, made good use of the elements in the first half and were good value for a four-point lead but a Hannah Looney goal, followed by a couple of points from Katrina Mackey, made it 1-6 to 0-8 in Cork’s favour at half-time.

Aoife Murray kept the hosts at bay with some fine saves before Cork, who had Ashling Thompson and Katrina Mackey looking sharp, finished strongly with six of the last seven points.

The second-half introduction of Chloe Foxe proved significant at Innovate Wexford Park as she weighed in with 1-2 to edge the hosts to a 2-12 to 2-7 win over Tipperary that moves them into second and in pole position for a quarter-final berth, though all four teams are still in contention. Úna Leacy did the damage in the first half with 1-2 while Cáit Devane kept Tipp in touch at the break (1-5 to 0-4).

Two pointed frees from Linda Bolger opened up a six-point gap but the visitors roared back into proceedings with two goals in three minutes from Orla O’Dwyer and Ereena Fryday to make it 1-7 to 2-4.

Matty Flynn-O’Connor and John Kelly sent Foxe into the fray and the dividend was immediate. The St Martin’s teenager converted a free immediately and O’Dwyer equalised but Foxe pounced for a goal in the 44th minute to give Wexford a lead they would never relinquish.

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