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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Dubs bitten by cool Cats

ON the radio last Saturday morning, RTé rugby commentator Michael Corcoran quoted a headline from one of the New Zealand papers -- 'The Black Lash'. Later in O'Toole Park, it was the amber and black lash.

In the league at the same venue, Kilkenny had pipped the Dubs by a point, and were lucky to do so. This time the margin was much more convincing -- 2-15 to 1-9 to the Cats on the opening day of the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship.

It wasn't a game to email the cousins about. It had more stops and starts than the steam train to Kilmuckeridge.

Splendid

The Kimmage Manor looked splendid. There was a decent crowd. There was a tidy, little programme. Gerry O'Sullivan was on sound. Crumlin's Claire Kiernan carried the tri-colour as the national anthem was played.

There were mini-games at half-time involving Ballyboden St Enda's, Naomh Brid and Crumlin. As the kids ran out to play, Kilkenny were ahead by 1-9 to 0-3.

They had 1-6 to no reply in the purse after 11 minutes. They set an impressive tempo as they attacked the road-end with the breeze.

Yet it was Dublin who created a goal chance within the opening seconds. Sarah Ryan cut through the Kilkenny defence. She slipped the ball to Miriam Twomey, who made a good connection. But the sliotar roared the wrong side of the mantelpiece.

A goal then would have given the Blues that ring of confidence. But it was the visitors who were to show all the arts and crafts from the Kilkenny Design Centre.

Aoife Neary was on form with the frees. Miriam Walsh, Michelle Quilty and Katie Power were dancing up front. And at the back, the Cats weren't handing out the Irish Roses.

Neary's pass enabled Miriam Walsh palm in the first goal on 11 minutes. Dublin's initial offering came from a Ciara Berkeley free in the 15th minute.

The hosts improved after the tea. Defenders, Emma Whyte, Lizzie McSweeney, Grainne Quinn and Fiona Hayes led the charge.

Berkeley converted three frees on the trot. And Amy Murphy sent over the point of the match on 50 minutes. Two minutes later came a cracking Ryan goal, propelling the sliotar to the top right-hand corner. That left Dublin trailing by seven points. Suddenly, there was optimism in the air. Dublin 'keeper, Clodagh Bolger, kept the hopes up with a timely stop.

But right on the hour, Quilty scrambled in Kilkenny's second goal. That took the Dulux off the Dublin recovery, but there was no argument about the result.

Kilkenny were the superior side. Their electric start gave them the ideal platform. Yet Dublin's response was encouraging.

And with crisper finishing, they could have got closer.

DUBLIN: C Bolger (Skerries Harps); E Whyte (Good Counsel), L McSweeney (St Oliver Plunkett's/ER), E O'Meara (Na Fianna); C Power (Naomh Mearnóg), G Quinn (Naomh Pádraig/Na Cloigthi), F Hayes (Ballinteer St John's); L O'Hara (Erin's Isle, 0-2), A Maguire (St Vincent's); M Moynihan (Lucan Sarsfields), S Ryan (Naomh Mearnóg, 1-0), M O'Gorman (Na Fianna); C Berkeley (Na Fianna, 0-6, 4f, 1 45), A Murphy (Erin's Isle, 0-1), M Twomey (Naomh Mearnóg). Subs: A Fanning (St Vincent's) for Twomey (ht); A Twomey (Lucan Sarsfields) for O'Gorman (47).

KILKENNY: C Ryan (Tullogher); C Shiel (Dicksboro), C Doherty (St Anne's), O Walsh (St Martin's); K McDonald (Thomastown), E Aylward (Mullinavat), J Frisby (Shamrocks); N Byrne (Clara), G Walsh (Tullaroan); A Neary (James Stephens, 0-5, 5f), M Walsh (Tullaroan, 1-4), E Mulhall (Lisdowney); M Quilty (Mullinavat, 1-2), K Power (Piltown, 0-4), E Cmerford (Young Ireland's). Subs: E Maher (St Anne's) for Comerford (ht); K Hamilton (Graig-Ballycallan) for Mulhall (62).

REF: J Dolan (Clare).

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