Gleeson leaves it late as Tribeswomen claim title despite Staunton heroics
Galway captured a fourth successive TG4 Connacht Ladies' Football Championship crown in dramatic fashion yesterday afternoon.
Patricia Gleeson kicked a late winning point for the Tribeswomen to edge out a Cora Staunton-inspired Mayo at Elvery's McHale Park in Castlebar.
Staunton scored 1-15 of Mayo's 1-17, including 1-5 from play, but Galway bagged 21 points to clinch a narrow win.
At half-time, Galway led by 0-11 to 0-9, with Staunton contributing all of Mayo's first-half scores.
It looked as if Mayo were set for victory down the home straight as Galway's Emer Flaherty was sin-binned with 14 minutes remaining.
But the beaten Tesco National League finalists, inspired by Roisín and Tracey Leonard, did enough to claim provincial silverware again.
The Leonards combined for nine points between them, with Tracey scoring three of her six points from play.
Annette Clarke was another player to impress for Galway with a six-point haul, including four frees.
Mayo looked like they were in for a hiding after falling 0-1 to 0-7 behind early on in proceedings, but with Staunton in superb form, they came roaring back into the game.
In the second half of the match, Staunton netted as Mayo hit 1-3 without reply from their opponents to move three points clear.
But Roisin Leonard kicked an equaliser for Galway to tie the scores at 0-19 to 1-16 approaching full-time. Staunton edged Mayo back in front but after Tracey Leonard levelled, Gleeson had the final say to leave Mayo facing a back-door battle with Tyrone.
Meanwhile, TG4 All-Ireland champions Cork must now regroup via the qualifiers after they lost heavily to Kerry in Saturday's Munster Final in Mallow.
The Kingdom ran out 2-13 to 2-4 winners to lift the Dairygold Cup for the second time in three years. Cork capitulated in the second half as Kerry outscored the Rebelettes by seven points after the break.
At half-time, Kerry led by 0-10 to 2-2, with Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh in impressive form.
First-half goals from Aisling Hutchings and Annie Walsh kept the Cork women in touch but Kerry sealed victory with scores from Ní Mhuircheartaigh, who finished with 1-5, and Megan O'Connell.
The Rebelettes will now face Meath in the qualifiers as they look to regroup and challenge for their 10th All-Ireland crown in 11 seasons.