Kilkenny’s class eventually showed in Liatroim Fontenoy’s on Saturday afternoon as they began their Glen Dimplex Senior Camogie Championship campaign in the best way possible thanks to a comfortable defeat of Down.
Despite the result suggesting it was an easy process throughout, the first half of this clash was as competitive as both sets of supporters are likely to see this year.
The opening exchanges were all about the free-taking abilities of Denise Gaule and Niamh Mallon as both sharpshooters kept the scoreboard ticking for their sides early on, Kilkenny 0-07 to 0-04 Down after ten minutes of non-stop action in the northern county.
The 2020 All-Ireland champions began to get a foothold in the game from that point onwards, with a Mary O’Connell goal doubling their advantage.
The Clara forward quickly added a point to that goal with a fine score from play before Down made a resurgence to drag themselves back into a tight first half. Mallon and Anna Rogan grabbed back-to-back points to make it a two-score affair once more on an overcast afternoon.
Gaule and Tullaroan’s Miriam Walsh got the final scores of the half for the recently crowned Leinster champions as Brian Dowling’s side took a six-point lead into the half-time break, Kilkenny 1-11 to 0-08 Down.
It was the perfect start to the second half for the home side as captain Aimee McAleenan fired them back to within a goal of their opponents by finding the back of the net with a powerful shot.
A plethora of frees from Gaule along with another point effort from O’Connell moved Kilkenny into a comfortable seven-point lead midway through the second half, Kilkenny 1-16 to 1-09 Down.
Gaule and Mallon exchanged 45s before two more points from the 2020 Player of the Year and a point from full-forward Miriam Walsh wrapped up an opening round victory for Kilkenny.
Next up for Kilkenny is a home tie with Limerick on Saturday.