Kilkenny reach semi-finals with stunning win over Wexford

Kilkenny cemented their place in the Liberty Insurance senior camogie championship semi-finals with a shock 2-15 to 2-9 victory over four-in-a-row chasing Wexford at Nowlan Park.

The result sees the Noresiders complete the group stages with a 100% record and they can concentrate on their preparations for a last-four bout on August 17.

The remaining teams must now battle it out for one further semi-final spot and four quarter-finals.

Victory over Wexford in the Leinster final has been credited with giving Kilkenny belief after a creditable league campaign that ended in a semi-final defeat to the Model County.

Kilkenny got the championship under way with victory over Galway and have remained unbeaten since.

Niall Williams’ team had to do it the hard way as they conceded a goal to Fiona Kavanagh and went four points down after four minutes.

They responded well though and despite squandering numerous chances, were in front at half time by 0-7 to 1-3 thanks to the accuracy of Aoife Neary.

Kilkenny continued where they left off and forged further clear when Shelley Farrell collected Claire Phelan’s lengthy clearance before rifling a shot to the bottom corner of the Wexford net after 38 minutes to put six between the sides. When either Farrell or Neary got the last touch after a goalmouth scramble for the Cats’ second major, the margin was eight and they were flourishing.

Wexford were without the services of the injured Katrina Parrock for the second week in a row and have lost three defenders to retirement since securing their third consecutive All-Ireland last September, but they retain their stubborn streak.

Ursula Jacob and Josie Dwyer lofted points and Emma Kavanagh was forced into a point-blank save by Brid Gordon at the start of the final quarter.

That was crucial, particularly as Fiona Kavanagh bagged her second goal in the 59th minute. That left four points between the teams but Kilkenny showed impressive resolve with injury-time points from Ann Dalton (free), Neary (45) and Katie Power to register a famous win.

Wexford face Clare next week in a do-or-die battle for a place in the quarter-finals, after Galway defeated the Banner women 3-12 to 1-12 at Cusack Park.

Brenda Hanney gave the westerners the lead with a goal midway through the opening half but four points from Claire McMahon and another from Máire McGrath gave the hosts a 0-8 to 1-3 interval lead.

Ann Marie Hayes struck for another Galway goal after the restart but Clare’s response was immediate, as Vera Loughnane claimed her first senior championship major.

The sides exchanged points until Molly Dunne claimed the critical goal in the 51st minute, Emer Haverty pointed immediately and Galway had breathing space.


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