Cork sink Clare with O’Leary’s late free

Jenny O’Leary converted a 60th-minute free to snatch a 0-16 to 2-9 victory for league champions Cork over Clare in the opening round of the All-Ireland senior camogie championship.

Clare had defeated the Leesiders in the Munster final but anyone thinking that was a fluke result received a rude awakening as the Banner women took it to their opponents again.

They led by 1-6 to 0-8 at half time thanks to a third-minute goal from Fiona Lafferty, but points from Julia White and O’Leary (two) towards the end of the opening period left just the minimum between the sides.

Cork looked to have made a significant push in the third quarter with four points on the trot but when Deirdre Murphy doubled on a Claire McMahon free to register Clare’s second goal 13 minutes from time, the sides were level once more.

That was the case on two further occasions before O’Leary showed nerves of steel to slot the winner at the death.

Galway were clinical in dispensing with Offaly by 1-17 to 1-6 in Banagher. The hosts held the upper hand for most of the first half, with Elaine Dermody deadly accurate from placed balls. They led by two points with half time approaching but Tara Rutledge goaled and three more points suddenly gave Galway a healthy advantage.

The Tribeswomen added eight more points after the resumption to make it 1-11 without reply and that was enough to put the game to bed. Dermody brought her personal tally to 1-5 when finding the net from a late free.

Champions Wexford tore into Tipperary in the first half at The Ragg before recording a comfortable win on the same scoreline. Una Leacy kicked a fourth-minute goal to send JJ Doyle’s charges on their way. Her sister Mary was an insurmountable barrier at centre-back and with Ursula Jacob slotting the frees (she ended with seven points in total), they led by 10 points at the interval.

Tipp improved in the second half and Ereena Fryday finished well for a goal early on, while Joanne Ryan, Mary Ryan and Caoimhe Maher also hurled impressively. There was no halting Wexford, however.

Kilkenny also laid the foundation for their 2-15 to 1-9 success over Dublin in the first half. A blistering start, that included an 11th-minute goal from Miriam Walsh, helped them to a nine-point interval lead.

Dublin were much improved in the second half and Sarah Ryan struck the Kilkenny net with a fearsome shot eight minutes from time. Kilkenny had the last say though, as Michelle Quilty got the last touch after a goalmouth scramble to raise another green flag for the Noresiders.

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