The Cats ran out 11 point winners this afternoon
Kilkenny will play Galway in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie semi-final after a much easier than expected win over Offaly at MacDonagh Park.
The sides have met twice already this season, with the Noresiders prevailing in the National League Division 1 final at the beginning of May but their old rivals getting the upper hand in the last game of the round-robin stages.
That win gave Galway a direct route to the last four while Kilkenny faced what looked a dangerous looking hurdle in the form of an Offaly team that had hammered Wexford and won four out of five group games.
Ann Downey and her management team clearly learned from their first defeat of the year however and they will be brimming with confidence as they renew acquaintances with the Tribeswomen.
They got a dream start with a goal from Julieann Malone and Offaly never seemed to recover from the setback. Miriam Walsh (two), Anna Farrell and Michelle Quilty all added points before Michaela Morkan put Offaly on the board from a free.
Kilkenny were relentless however, and the unerring Gaule fired over five more points to give her side a 1-11 to 0-6 lead at half time.
Emma Kavanagh with Arlene Watkins contest possession in the first half. Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Grealy
That wasn’t an insurmountable gap, as evidenced by the other quarter-final in Waterford but Kilkenny were anxious to remove any hope Offaly might have had of effecting a similar fightback to that chiselled out by Wexford.
To give Adrian Clancy’s charges credit, they were much more competitive after the resumption and kept their feint hopes alive with three points from Morkan but Kilkenny had scoring power from everywhere, while their defence managed to shut down Tina Hannon and Arlene Watkins completely.
Katie Power, Malone and Quilty kept the scoreboard ticking over and Downey was in the happy position of being able to empty her bench.
Offaly kept fighting but the game fizzled out to an inevitable end.
Words: Daragh Ó Conchúir