Saturday 17 March 2018

Supersub McGrath makes presence felt to seal the deal for Galway

Niamh McGrath, Galway
Niamh McGrath, Galway Newsdesk Newsdesk

Not for the first time, a doughty Offaly unit made life difficult for more vaunted opponents but in the end, Galway's experience saw them finish strongly to record a 1-11 to 1-8 victory in the Liberty Insurance senior camogie championship at St Brendan's Park, Birr.

Central to the late flourish was the introduction of star forward Niamh McGrath. Manager Tony Ward opted not to risk her from the start due to injury and she was replaced by her Sarsfields clubmate Maria Cooney, who began brilliantly , scoring three points from play in the first half.

Siobhan Flannery was Offaly's key scoring contributor, with six frees. Aoife Kelly added a good point from play in that opening period, but an injury-time goal by Mollie Dunne gave Galway the upper hand with a 1-5 to 0-4 interval lead.

Niamh Kilkenny stretched the margin to five points but Tina Hannon's goal put the tie back in the melting pot. Flannery slotted three frees and it was 1-7 apiece at the three-quarter mark.

It was time for McGrath to enter the fray and she added three frees to a Jessica Gill point from play as Galway finished strongly.

There was late drama, though, as Flannery made it a three-point game from a free, and was given a chance to snatch a draw, but her 20-metre free was saved.

In the absence of Úna Leacy and Ursula Jacob, Kate Kelly showed her leadership with a brilliant performance as Wexford also maintained their flawless record thanks to a 3-9 to 0-11 victory over Limerick at Wexford Park.

Kelly finished with 2-6 to deny Limerick, for whom Caoimhe Costelloe scored four points.

Tipperary just held off Dublin to bag their second win of the campaign, 1-13 to 2-9 at O'Moore Park. Cait Devane scored nine first-half points as Tipp went in at half time leading by 0-11 to 0-4.

Meanwhile, Kilkenny showcased their massive scoring power as the came away from Swatragh with an 8-22 to 2-10 win against Derry. From the time Denise Gaule got her first goal in the 14th minute, there was no way back for the Oak Leafers.

Katie Power and Gaule added goals in the space of two minutes, and there was still time for Michelle Quilty, Edel Maher and Miriam Walsh to find the Derry net before the interval. It was 6-11 to 0-5 at half-time, and Walsh and Power added goals in the second period. Derry improved, however, as Mary Kelly and Karen Kielt added excellent goals, Kielt bringing her tally to 1-8.

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