Kilkenny repeated their league final defeat of Clare in the Liberty Insurance Senior Camogie championship at Cusack Park but it was a much more competitive affair on this occasion, with the Black and Amber winning by 1-13 to 0-12.
The Noresiders had 15 points to spare at Semple Stadium last May but having struggled with the occasion of their first ever national decider at senior level, Clare were much more composed this time around.
Still, Kilkenny were deserving winners and had to show plenty of resolve after being reduced to 14 players with the dismissal of ace freetaker, Denise Gaule.
They led by 0-7 to 0-3 at half time and when Aisling Dunphy pounced for a goal straight after the resumption it was looking good for last year’s All-Ireland finalists.
They were nine points clear at one stage and still eight points ahead when Denise Gaule was sent off. That was the signal for Clare to up the momentum. Chloe Morey was unerring from placed balls – driving over from 65 and 70m – as Colm Honan’s side clawed themselves back into proceedings.
The result was right in doubt until the end but Kilkenny’s defence held out as Clare sought the goal they needed to pull off a famous comeback and avoid their first defeat of the campaign.
It wasn’t to be though and the league champions are now closing in on a place in the All-Ireland semi-final.
In the weekend’s other senior tie, Offaly recorded their second victory of the campaign by virtue of a 0-17 to 1-11 win over Tipperary at The Ragg.