Last year’s beaten finalists Kilkenny were 15-points to 8 winners against their neighbours Waterford at Walsh Park. Kilkenny were firm favourites before the game having contested the last four All Ireland Finals and didn’t fail to disappoint in their first showing in this year’s championship.
Kilkenny raced into an early 0-04 – 0-02 lead within the first ten minutes, with the pick of the scores coming from Kilkenny’s Mary O’Connell who struck over from play for Kilkenny’s fourth point of the game. Waterford used the strong breeze they had behind them throughout the course of the first half with full forward Abby Flynn. the target for most of the balls going into the forward line. Waterford added four unanswered points to take a two point lead before half time but two frees from Kilkenny’s trusty free taker Denise Gaule left the teams all square at the interval.
Kilkenny started the second half much stronger than their opponents, adding five points, including a point each from Ann Dalton and Katie Nolan, which put them 0-11 – 0-06 ahead before the second half water break. Kilkenny proved too strong for the Deise as the second half continued. Points from Grace Walsh and Miriam Walsh kept the Noresiders on top despite the best efforts of Waterford sharp shooter Beth Carton, who was consistent with her free taking throughout the game. Player of the match Denise Gaule added another free to bring her personal tally for the game to 0-07. Kilkenny comfortably saw out the game to begin their quest for the O’Duffy Cup in the best possible way.
Next up for Kilkenny is Westmeath in UPMC Nowlan Park next Saturday. Manager Brian Dowling, who took charge of the team for the first time in the championship, spoke to KCLR after the Waterford game about how it was important to stay in the game in the first behalf while playing against the breeze.
‘’ To go in at half time level against that wind, we were very happy’’
Match report by Robbie Dowling – KCLR Sport Producer