Monday 19 August 2019

Rabbitt says past hurt can drive Galway to title

Rabbitt: "It will be very important we put in a big performance." Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Galway manager Tim Rabbitt has urged his players to use the hurt of past defeats to end their silverware drought.

Galway haven't won the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship since 2004, but they are back in the last four again where they face rivals Mayo, following Saturday's 1-12 to 2-4 victory over Waterford at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.

Galway will face their Connacht rivals for the third time this year, and Rabbitt knows it will be a huge fixture at Croke Park on August 25.

"It's a fantastic occasion for the girls to be getting up to play at Croke Park," said Rabbitt.

"Galway supporters have been great all year long and we will be asking them to come out. Mayo will have a big crowd at it. We lost the semi-final last year. We know what that will be like although it will be a unique occasion in Croke Park.

"I was with the girls last year when we were beaten so I know what it is like to lose a semi-final as well.

"It is a nowhere position because at least if you get to the final you are there on the biggest day of the year. It will be very important we put in a big performance."

On Saturday Galway held a 1-6 to 1-4 lead over Waterford at half-time. They were 1-4 to 0-2 ahead after Tracey Leonard scored her goal in the 18th minute, but Aileen Wall struck back eight minutes later.

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However, Waterford were restricted to Wall's second goal after half-time while Galway hit 0-6 with Sarah Conneally rounding off the scoring.

Elsewhere, Mayo manager Peter Leahy says his players continue to grow as a unit as they booked their place in the semi-final with a 2-12 to 1-12 win against Armagh.

The 2017 beaten All-Ireland finalists were knocked out at this stage last year but moved into the final four after a narrow victory at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford.

Maria Reilly and Sarah Rowe fired the goals in either half to secure the victory. Mayo had a difficult 2018 but have bounced back this year and, following wins against Tyrone and Donegal in the round robin, they are just 60 minutes away from an All-Ireland final.

"There has been a lot of tribulation over the last couple of years for Mayo," said Leahy.

"This is a journey for the girls. We did a video for them recently about their journey. Every team has a point where it becomes a new team. We became a new team last year after all that happened. We just get on with it. It has been my most enjoyable year coaching any team."

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