Limerick made a winning return to Senior Camogie ranks with a hard fought 1-12 to 1-8 win over Offaly in Newcastle West on Saturday.
This was Limerick’s first win in the senior championship since 2005 and gets their campaign off to the best possible start.
Offaly had the better of the opening half but would have felt they should have been further ahead at the break. But some dogged defending from Limerick with captain Sarah Carey particularly impressive restricted Offaly’s scores and the ever reliable Niamh Mulcahy kept the Limerick scoreboard ticking over as Offaly never got more than two points clear and the half finished with only a single point between the teams.
Limerick made two changes at the break with Caoimhe Costelloe, who was a late withdrawal before the start, coming in alongside Monaleen’s Megan O’Mara. The changes had immediate impact as Limerick started to dominate the middle of the field and won frees that were converted by Niamh Mulcahy to put Limerick ahead for the first time since the opening minutes of the game.
The key moment came when a Niamh Mulcahy free from well inside the Limerick half dropped under the crossbar for a goal to put Limerick ahead 1-9 to 0-8. Two further points including one from Caoimhe Costelloe widened the gap to put Limerick firmly in control.
However there was fight in this Offaly side yet and when Arlene Watkins broke past the Limerick defence she made no mistake and hit the back of the net to put her side firmly back in the game with 5 minutes to play.
Offaly continued to press but the Limerick defence held firm and in the final moments Niamh Mulcahy converted another free to put the result beyond doubt.
Next up Limerick will host All-Ireland Senior champions Cork on next Saturday in Newcastle West. Cork lost their opening clash by two points after a late Galway surge so a great encounter is anticipated.
Scorers - Limerick: Niamh Mulcahy 1-11 (1-8f), Caoimhe Costelloe 0-1; Offaly: Siobhán Flannery 0-4 (all frees), Arlene Walkinstown 1-0, Tina Hannon 0-2, Cailin Fitzgerald 0-1, Niamh Larkin 0-1
LIMERICK: Sile Moynihan (Ahane), Marguerite McCarthy (Ahane), Lorraine McCarthy (Bruff), Judith Mulcahy (Ahane), Rebecca DeLee (Newcastle West), Sarah Carey (capt.) (Granagh Ballingarry), Fiona Hickey (Granagh Ballingarry), Sinead McNamara (Na Piarsaigh), Aoife Sheehan (Granagh Ballingarry), Karen O’Leary (Newcastle West), Niamh Mulcahy (Ahane), Caoimhe Lyons (Monaleen), Noreen Barry (Killeedy), Rebecca Noonan (Granagh Ballingarry), Deborah Murphy (Knockaderry)
Caoimhe Costelloe (Adare) for Karen O’Leary and Megan O’Mara (Monaleen) for Deborah Murphy, Aisling Scanlon (Killeedy) for Noreen Barry