Cork continued their seemingly inexorable progress towards the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland senior semi-finals after a 1-27 to 1-12 win over Tipperary in the top-of-the-table clash at The Ragg.
Group winners progress directly to the last four, while runners-up and third-placed finishers compete in quarter-finals and the All-Ireland champions are sitting pretty at the summit of Group 2 with a very healthy score difference as the only team with a 100 per cent record after three games.
Offaly defeated Wexford by 1-18 to 1-12 at St Brendan’s Park to move into second, on a marginally better score differential than Tipperary, and Dublin, who accounted for Meath by 2-11 to 0-8 in Trim.
Cork established their supremacy early on with the ultra-consistent Amy O’Connor slotting two points, and Orla Cronin, Ashling Thomson and Orla Cotter – back from her recent marriage – on target for Cork to lead early by 0-5 to 0-1.
Tipperary showcased their improvement in recent weeks by steadying the ship, with the Championship’s leading scorer Cáit Devane finding the target as they brought it back to 0-7 to 0-4 but Julia White accelerated onto a Niamh McCarthy pass before finishing clinically for a goal to put six between the teams.
Aoife Murray had a shot from a penalty deflect over soon after and though Róisí Cahill goaled for Tipp, it was 1-14 to 1-06 to Paudie Murray’s charges at the break.
Devane brought her tally to six points from frees but Cork were on fire, finishing with 11 different scorers, Katrina Mackey edging just ahead of Orla Cronin as the Leesiders’ leading scorer with five points from play.
Offaly laid the groundwork for their victory in the first half, at the end of which they led by double scores, 0-10 to 0-05. Sarah Harding did a lot of the damage for the hosts with three points from play, while Anais Curran had a brace for Wexford.
The second half was very entertaining but Offaly were always able to maintain their advantage. Siobhán Flannery’s goal from a free was a crucial score, while Michaela Morkan and Becky Bryant also raised white flags, and Harding brought her tally to five points.
Wexford dug deep and Chloe Foxed pounced for a goal but they could never reel in their opponents and with no points from three games, need a miracle to advance to the knockout stages.
Dublin led Meath by 1-07 to 0-03 before moving comfortably to an important win that keeps their hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive.