Kilkenny have got off to the best possible start in Division 1 of the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League as they defeated Dublin by 1-08 – 0-06 at John Locke Park on Saturday afternoon.
Despite an underwhelming performance from last year’s All-Ireland champions, Brian Dowling’s side proved too strong for Dublin as they began their 2021 season in the best possible fashion.
An early free from 2020 Player of the Year Denise Gaule followed by a score from play from Gaule’s Windgap teammate Michalea Kenneally gave the home side an early two point lead.
Full forward Aoife Doyle continued Kilkenny’s dominance with a well taken goal as Dublin struggled to keep pace with a strong Kilkenny team as the Kittens moved five ahead.
Dublin finally got off the mark after ten minutes with Aisling Maher taking advantage of ill-discipline from the Kilkenny defenders by putting her first free of the match straight between the posts. That score was cancelled out almost immediately afterwards as Gaule pointed a free of her own to make it 1-04 – 0-01 after fifteen minutes.
Kilkenny applied pressure on the Dublin back line as the half proceeded with Kellyann Doyle scored from half-back. Dublin responded with two unanswered points from Maher and Jody Couch as the scoreboard read 1-05 – 0-03 as the referee signalled for half-time.
Maher and Gaule once again traded points, this time from play, as the away side failed to get within a single score of the All-Ireland champions. Roisin Baker reduced the deficit to four points but Kilkenny always seemed to have the upper hand as Miriam Walsh and another for Gaule from a ’45 gave Kilkenny a six point lead midway through the second half.
The last fifteen minutes of the game saw an understandable drop off in intensity and quality considering this was the first intercounty camogie clash since December. There was only one point scored in the last quarter as Aisling Maher showed her class from placed balls yet again to make it 1-08 – 0-06 at the final whistle.
Next up for Kilkenny is a clash with Offaly in two weeks time.
Listen back to the the match here.