Galway battle to sink Rebelettes
IT wasn't pretty on the eye, but that won't bother Galway as they edged past Cork in their Gala All-Ireland senior camogie semi-final replay at Semple Stadium yesterday and in the process, dashed Cork's three-in-a-row ambitions.
In stark contrast to last week's cracking encounter, which yielded 32 scores and was brimful of outstanding passages of play, this game was dour with only seven of the 19 points coming from play.
There was never any flow or pattern to a match that was very stop-start in nature, due to injuries and a plethora of frees, and with neither side giving an inch, space was at an absolute premium.
Both sets of defences had the upper hand, with Sandra Tannian and Regina Glynn outstanding for Galway, while Rena Buckley was immaculate for Cork.
Crucially, though, the winners had the upper hand around midfield and it wasn't until Gemma O'Connor was moved to that sector at half-time that Cork began to get some joy.
The Leesiders hit the front for the first time in the 53rd minute through Eimear O'Sullivan, but it was Galway who were able to lift it thereafter, Aislinn Connolly converting frees either side of an excellent point by Breda Hanney.
Síle Burns reduced the deficit to one from a free in the fifth minute of injury-time after Galway goalkeeper Susan Earner had had to be alert twice to deny Cork goals.
There was time for one last opportunity to bring the tie to extra-time, but Gemma O'Connor's free from 65 metres drifted to the right of the posts.
Galway led by 0-6 to 0-3 at the interval. Tara Rutledge and Connolly gave them a good start, but Cork were level by the 15th minute, O'Sullivan soloing through and striking off the stick before Burns slotted a free.
Three points in five minutes from Connolly, Veronica Curtin and Caroline Murray stretched Noel Finn's team clear before Orla Cotter and Connolly exchanged white flags.
Gemma O'Connor was exerting an influence at midfield, however, and Burns slotted two frees to leave just the minimum between them.
Connolly slotted another free for Galway, but pointed frees by Burns and Gemma O'Connor, followed by O'Sullivan's second point, edged the Rebels in front. Galway showed their desire in the remaining 14 minutes, however, and when Gemma O'Connor's last ditch effort missed the target, the celebrations could begin.
SCORERS -- Galway: A Connolly 0-6 (6f); C Murray, B Hanney, T Rutledge, V Curtin 0-1 each. Cork: S Burns (0-5f) 0-5, E O'Sullivan 0-2, G O'Connor (0-1f), O Cotter 0-1 each.
Galway -- S Earner; S Tannian, S Dervan, N Kilkenny; R Glynn, AM Hayes, T Manton; E Kilkelly, O Kilkenny; C Murray , T Maher, B Hanney; T Rutledge, V Curtin, A Connolly. Subs: J Gill for Murray (45); A Lynskey for Kilkelly (54); L Ryan for Rutledge (60+6)
Cork -- A Murray; J O'Callaghan, C Foley, R Buckley; J Duffy, M O'Connor, G O'Connor; O Cotter, J Duffy; J White, E O'Sullivan, J O'Leary; S Burns, R Moloney, J Casey. Subs: P Mackey for Foley (35); D Cronin for Moloney (49); K Mackey for Casey (54)
REF -- U Kearney (Armagh)
- Meanwhile, a blistering start laid the foundation for Galway as they overcame Clare to win the All- Ireland minor 'A' camogie title by 2-12 to 2-8 at Semple Stadium.
Johnny Kane's side raced into a 1-8 to 0-1 lead, despite the excellent efforts of Máire McGrath in the Clare defence.
Rebecca Hanley scored four points and Ailish O'Reilly slammed home a brilliant goal.
The Banner girls were given an ideal tonic when Rachel O'Halloran pulled first time to goal three minutes into the second half, after Ailish Considine had kept Morey's free in play, but Galway had enough breathing space to cope with conceding a late goal to Susan Fahy.
In the Gala All-Ireland intermediate semi-final at Clones, Offaly booked their place in a third successive final with a hard-fought victory over Derry. They now face Wexford in the decider in three weeks time after they edged past a plucky Limerick side in Ardfinnan.
Finally, Monaghan came out on top in the Gala All-Ireland junior B final replay, prevailing by 0-12 to 1-8 against Cavan.