Thursday 15 November 2018

Leonard shines as Galway seal thrilling Connacht win

Galway players celebrate with the trophy after their victory over Mayo in the Connacht Ladies Senior Football final. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Galway players celebrate with the trophy after their victory over Mayo in the Connacht Ladies Senior Football final. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Ladies Football

Six points from captain Tracey Leonard helped Galway claim a sixth TG4 Connacht senior title in the last seven years with a 0-17 to 1-12 victory over arch rivals Mayo at MacHale Park.

It was no surprise to see Cora Staunton in from the start for Mayo and she kicked six points, but despite a late goal from Fiona Doherty that helped Mayo pull level, Peter Leahy's side were denied when Tracey Leonard and Mairead Seoighe sealed the win for Galway.

"That was two of the best teams in the country going head-to-head, and no matter who won or lost it was a big advantage playing that game ahead of the All-Ireland series," said Galway manager Stephen Glennon.

With Roisin and Tracey Leonard in form, Galway were good value for their 0-9 to 0-7 interval lead.

Staunton and Niamh Kelly kept Mayo in touch and when Doherty goaled in the 50th minute, Sinead Cafferky then drew them level. But Galway had a strong finish in them.

Meanwhile, in the Munster final, Saoirse Noonan showed her class with a dream senior championship debut to help Cork reclaim the provincial title at CIT.

Having played poorly in the first, Cork scored four goals in the second period to claim a runaway 5-13 to 2-10 triumph over Kerry.

Skipper Ciara O'Sullivan hit the net twice for Cork, while Noonan bagged a brace after coming on at half-time, and dual star Hannah Looney netted a penalty.

"We're delighted with the win, Kerry put it up to us, particularly in the first-half," said O'Sullivan. "The goals were big scores and to get four in the second half was massive for us."

Elsewhere, Laura Fleming hit goals in each half as Roscommon denied Sligo a third Connacht ladies football intermediate crown in-a-row to claim their first title at the grade at MacHale Park.

Irish Independent

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