FIRST-HALF goals from Amy O’Connor (two) and Saoirse McCarthy were vital as All-Ireland champions Cork were able to see off a doughty Déise challenge to prevail by 3-8 to 0-10 at Cork Camogie Grounds.
Paudie Murray’s outfit remain on top of Group 2 with three wins from three, while inflicting a first defeat in two on Waterford.
When O’Connor hand-passed to the net after eight minutes, the hosts led by 3-1 to 0-2 but Waterford illustrated their continuing improvement as they curtailed their opponents to a single point for the remainder of the half and went in at the interval trailing by 3-2 to 0-5.
Beth Carton had three of those points for the visitors and doubled her tally in the second half but Orla Cotter’s customary accuracy from placed balls was enough to extend the interval advantage by one, her four points making sure of the victory.
In the group’s other game, Galway beat Wexford by 9-23 to 1-2 in Gort, having led by 8-10 to 0-2 at the interval. Niamh Kilkenny, Ailish O’Reilly, Sarah Spellman and Catherine Finnerty were among the goalscorers for the westerners.
In the day’s only Group 1 tie, Offaly earned their first point after a few narrow defeats, sharing the spoils with Dublin at the Parnell’s grounds in Coolock, 0-10 to 0-10.
It was a first point too for the home team and in the overall scheme of things, they will be satisfied with that, even if Mairéad Teehan secured a deserved draw for Offaly with her seventh point of the day.
Dublin had the better of the early exchanges, points from Siobhán Kehoe, Alex Griffin and Kerrie Finnegan nudging them two ahead. A couple of points from Teehan brought Offaly level but Ali Maguire, who accumulated five points in total, ensured that Frank Browne’s charges went in at half time leading by 0-6 to 0-5.
Teehan was on fire after the resumption however, and four points, two of which came from play, moved Offaly 0-9 to 0-7 in front with eight minutes left on the clock.
Dublin dug deep though and two points from Maguire, either side of a Finnegan score, inched them in front after 28 minutes only for Teehan to makemade no mistake off the deck with the opportunity to equalise and earn a merited draw for Mike Wall’s unit.
On Saturday night, a Sophie O’Callaghan goal and five points from Niamh Mulcahy enabled Limerick to chisel out a five-point victory, 1-14 to 0-10 over neighbours Clare in their Group 2 clash at the Gaelic Grounds.
Declan Nash’s troops join Kilkenny at the top of the table with their second win from as many games, while Clare fell to their second defeat from three outings.
Clare’s chief markswoman, Amy Keating got the scoring under way and though Limerick replied with the next three scores, Clare did the same to lead by one approaching the end of the first quarter.
It was nip and tuck all the way to the interval, Karen O’Leary, Caoimhe Costelloe and Mulcahy striking points for the winners, Keating finding the target for Clare.
Limerick had edged into a one-point lead when O’Callaghan pounced after 39 minutes and it never looked like the Bannerwomen would be able to reel in the deficit.
Instead, the girls in green moved through the gears and Mulcahy was able to have the luxury to take a point from a penalty and help her team see the game out.