ALL-IRELAND CHAMPIONS Galway got their Irish Daily Star Camogie League Division 1 campaign off to the worst possible start, as they fell to a voraciously hungry Kilkenny outfit in Ballinasloe.
Of course, the Noresiders had the memory of their All-Ireland final loss to the westerners to motivate them and they flew out of the traps, doing most of the damage in the first half before easing to a 2-11 to 0-8 success.
They looked very sharp from the outset and after the teams traded points through Michelle Quilty and Niamh Kilkenny, the opening goal came in eighth minute. Shelley Farrell was always a threat and when her shot was saved by Susan Earner, Aoife Neary finished it to the net.
Maria Cooney got Galway’s first point from play but Kilkenny had a second goal after 19 minutes. Once more, Farrell was involved, combining well with Marie Dargan. Earner actually gathered possession but was blocked down by Quilty, who did the needful from close range. Denise Gaule, Dargan and Farrell all added points to leave it 2-6 to 0-4 at the interval.
Any hopes of a second-half surge from Galway were extinguished fairly quickly as Quilty and Gaule (two frees) stretched the margin to 11 points. Had their shooting been better, the advantage would have been even greater.
They were able to empty the bench early and with Mairead Power, Edwina Keane and Elaine Aylward forming a brilliant half-back division, and Aisling Dunphy on top at midfield, Galway were always struggling.
The switch of Heather Cooney to full-back did have a positive effect for the hosts, who were missing seven of their All-Ireland winning team. They were too reliant on Niamh Kilkenny for scores though and she added four second-half points to bring her tally to seven.