Beth Carton hit 1-9 as Waterford survived a dose of the jitters and a brilliant comeback by a resolute Clare to win 1-11 to 0-12 at Cusack Park and secure a place in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Quarter-Finals for the first time.
Donal O’Rourke’s side will play Tipperary, who finished just ahead of Dublin as runners-up of Group 2 on score difference, after a point from Cáit Devane snatched a 0-13 to 0-13 draw with the Metropolitans in Parnell Park.
That means Dublin will take on Galway in the other Quarter-Final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on August 4th, following the Tribeswomen’s 1-17 to 0-13 defeat by Kilkenny at Nolan Park.
That victory means the Cats go directly into the Semi-Finals as group winners, where they are joined by their conquerors in last year’s All-Ireland Final Cork. The Rebels maintained their high-scoring campaign with a 6-18 to 3-4 triumph against Offaly at Páirc Uí Rinn.
Denise Gaule hit eight points to end Galway’s hopes of claiming first place in Group 1, while Anne Dalton, Meighan Farrell and player of the match Michelle Quilty were key contributors too.
Ailish O’Reilly excelled for Galway and had two early points from play but the visitors totted up the wides even as they moved four points clear with Niamh McGrath also on target.
Kilkenny gradually assumed control as Gaule, Quilty, Miriam Walsh and Shelly Farrell gave them a 0-9 to 0-7 advantage at half time.
Carrie Dolan and O’Reilly, with her fourth from play brought restored parity but a 41st minute goal by Gaule from a penalty, after a foul on Shelly Farrell, opened a gap that Galway didn’t really look like scoring, despite some good scores by Dolan.
Waterford On Their Way
The foundation for Waterford’s tremendous win came in the opening quarter, as Carton scored the first goal and four points of the game. She almost had a second goal but Lauren Solan made a point-blank save to deny the De La Salle star.
That seemed to inspire Clare and Chloe Morey settled the home team with five or her 10 points to make it 1-5 to 0-5 at the interval.
It was tit-for-tat between Carton and Morey in the second half and Waterford had just enough in hand to secure a famous success.
Dublin began strongly against Tipp with points from Eimear McCarthy and Niamh Gannon but Faye McCarthy had to make a brilliant save for David Herity’s charges as the visitors upped the tempo and Devane, the championship’s leading scorer drew them level.
Caoimhe Maher and Grace O’Brien moved them ahead but Dublin steadied the ship with points from Orla Beagan, Eimear McCarthy and Siobhán Kehoe and Kehoe gave them the lead just before the short whistle, 0-6 to 0-5.
Points from Kehoe, Mairi Moynihan and Eimear McCarthy after the restart established a five-point margin but Tipp dug deep once more, Eibhlís McDonnell, Miriam Campion and Devane clawing back at the deficit. It was nip and tuck from there to the end before Devane, who finished with seven points, had the final say.
Cork had 16 different scorers prior to welcoming Offaly to town and they illustrated their significant firepower in stunning fashion.
Offaly tried hard and Arlene Watkins helped herself to three goals but Aoife Murray (penalty), Niamh McCarthy, Julia White (two), Orla Cotter and Katrina Mackey raised green flags for Paudie Murray’s outfit, while Aoife Murray also saved a penalty from the competition’s leading goalscorer (with five), Siobhán Flannery.
Wexford played Meath in the day’s only dead rubber and it was the Yellowbellies that secured the honours by 4-14 to 1-10 at Enniscorthy’s St Patrick’s Park.