National Camogie League Division One Group Two
Waterford enjoyed a comfortable start to their National League campaign at an overcast WIT Arena on Sunday, seeing off Meath by nine points.
With successive away matches on the immediate agenda (Clare next Sunday and Kilkenny on February 4th), a winning start on home soil was a must for Donal O’Rourke’s charges and they were in command of this encounter from the off.
Beth Carton opened the scoring for the Deisewomen with a point inside 10 seconds, while League debutant Kaisha Tobin doubled their advantage 40 seconds later.
With the strong wind blowing in Waterford’s favour, Beth Carton scored her first free of the afternoon in the fourth minute, and the De La Salle star turned provider a minute later to assist Tobin for her second white flagger.
Caroline Quinn got Meath off the mark with a 10th minute free, one of only two first half points the reigning Intermediate All-Ireland champions would ultimately register, and they would go on to score only three times from play over the course of the hour.
Aisling Power rifled over a fine point in the 11th minute before Beth Carton steered a shot over the bar with a goal at her mercy at the end of the first quarter. Carton played Aisling Power through for Waterford’s seventh point after 18 minutes, before Carton steered another free between the uprights four minutes later.
The match was effectively put beyond Meath’s reach six minutes from the interval thanks to Lorraine Bray’s close-range goal, as she finished off a move she had initially instigated after creating a two-on-one overlap with Beth Carton. Fiona Morrissey maintained Waterford’s momentum with a further point in the 25th minute, while Aoife Maguire’s stoppage time free left the visitors trailing by 1-9 to 0-2 at half-time.
With the contest settled by the break, Waterford emptied their bench over the course of the second half and, naturally, there wasn’t the same level of fluidity to their play.
But there were plenty of strong, physical exchanges, with Deise backs Sibeal Harney and Aine Lyng respectively roving their worth, while goalkeeper Brianna O’Regan exuded confidence and composure between the sticks.
Meath’s Aine McInerney opened the second half scoring four minutes after the restart, before Beth Carton added a brace of frees in the 41st and 42nd minutes (1-11 to 0-3). Aoife Maguire converted her second free on the three-quarter mark, with the impressive Kaesha Tobin landing her third point from play with 10 minutes remaining.
To Meath’s credit, they remained fully committed to the final whistle, with Caroline Quinn and midfielder Cheyenne O’Brien at least providing the visitors with the consolation of ‘winning’ the second half.
Waterford: Brianna O’Regan; Mairead Power, Iona Heffernan, Sibeal Harney; Aoife Landers, Aine Lyng, Shauna Fitzgerald; Lorraine Bray, Clara Griffin; Deirdre Fahy, Fiona Morrissey, Niamh Rockett; Aisling Power, Beth Carton, Kaesha Tobin.
Substitutes: Claire Murphy for Aine Lyng (Blood Sub, 13-16 mins), Annie Fitzgerald for Deirdre Fahy (46), Claire Murphy for Fiona Morrissey (51), Becky Kavanagh for Mairead Power (55), Claire Whyte for Kaisha Tobin (55) and Jenny McCarthy for Shauna Fitzgerald (57).
Scorers: Beth Carton (0-6; 0-4f), Kaesha Tobin (0-3), Lorraine Bray (1-0), Aisling Power (0-2) and Fiona Morrissey (0-1)
Meath: Emily Mangan; Ellen Burke, Claire Coffey, Maeve Clince; Emma McGill, Aoife Maguire, Louise Donoghue; Cheyenne O’Brien, Aedin Slattery; Amy Gaffney, Grace Coleman, Kristina Troy; Fia O’Brien, Caroline Quinn, Megan Thynne.
Substitutes: Aine McInerney for Grace Coleman (25 mins), Aine Keogh for Maeve Clince (HT), Maggie Randall for Fia O’Brien (44), Leah Devine for Aedin Slattery (48) and Aideen Smith for Amy Gaffney (60+).
Scorers: Caroline Quinn (0-2; 0-1f), Aoife Maguire (0-2f), Aine McInerney and Cheyenne O’Brien (0-1 each).
Referee: John Dermody.