Tipperary and Kilkenny progress to Camogie semi-finals

Offaly prove no match for Tipp but Limerick push Kilkenny all the way

Limerick’s Roisin Ambrose and Katie Nolan of Kilkenny after their league quarter-final on Saturday. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Limerick’s Roisin Ambrose and Katie Nolan of Kilkenny after their league quarter-final on Saturday. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Bill Mullaney cut a satisfied figure as his consistently improving Tipperary team produced one of their most rounded performances for some time to defeat Offaly by 4-17 to 0-13 and set up a Camogie League Division One semi-final with Kilkenny at Nowlan Park next week, with Galway and Cork completing a mouth-watering double-header.

But with the defensive unit in which Mary Ryan and Sarah Fryday shone largely solid, and Grace O’Brien providing the talismanic Cáit Devane with the type of scoring support she hasn’t always gotten by scoring 2-4 from play - Devane did supply 2-5 herself and was on hand to supply the assist of a number of other scores too - it is clear that they continue to travel in the right direction.

“I’m very happy with the performance overall. We played well, especially when we lost Róisín. We knuckled down, played better, worked harder but it was a tough game. I know the scoreline looked one-sided but it was tough all over the field.

“Offaly caused us problems, ran through and put us under pressure but I’m delighted for the girls. From the starting 15 to the finishing 15 it was a great performance from them.

“I think we’re improving in every game but we have to. If we’re meeting the likes of Cork, Kilkenny, Galway, Offaly, Limerick, Waterford, we have to be improving every game, we have to be learning every time, learning lessons from every game and applying them the next day out. We can’t assume anything

“We’re looking forward to next weekend and having another pop at it. We want to be playing every Sunday if we could. And winning. Everybody wants to win.”

Kilkenny manager Brian Dowling has admitted that his charges have a lot to work on but was focusing on the positives while also praising the Limerick fervour that caused his side so many problems before they dug out a 2-10 to 0-13 victory in Saturday’s quarter-final at St Brendan’s Park in Birr.

That sets up a semi-final on home territory at Nowlan Park, and Dowling was pleased with the fighting spirit of his team shorn of the defensive nous of Davina Tobin and Claire Phelan.

Goalkeeper Aoife Norris was required to making a couple of brilliant saves to keep her side in the game when Limerick were dominant, while Miriam Walsh was the catalyst for the goals from Mary O’Connell and substitute Steffi Fitzgerald, the latter the pivotal score of the game in the 49th minute.

Niamh Deely grew into the fray in the second half while reigning player of the year, Denise Gaule illustrated her leadership in that latter period too.

“Limerick are a very good team,” Dowling noted. “They brought huge intensity and their workrate was fantastic all over the pitch. We weren’t able to match it for a long time to be honest. We stuck at it and the goal in the second half was a huge score. We were lucky enough to get through but we’ll take it.”

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