A SECOND HALF Galway charge meant more disappointment for the Kilkenny minor camogie team as the Tribeswomen took the All-Ireland title Westwards on Saturday.
Five points down just minutes after the restart (1-7 to 1-2), Galway rattled off an impressive 1-5 in eight minutes as they charged towards the spoils in McDonagh Park, Nenagh.
The Westerners drew level at 1-7 each by the 40th minute with 5 unanswered points from Rachel Monaghan (two frees), a brace from Orlaith McGrath and another point from the highly efficient Ailish O’Reilly.
The crucial score, however, came in the 43rd minute. Taking full advantage of space, Ailish O’Reilly soloed through the heart of the Kilkenny defence unchallenged before off-loading the sliotar to Monaghan.
She tried for a point, but got a better return when her effort dropped under the bar. It was a disastrous blow for Kilkenny, who had gone from five points up to three down in a matter of minutes (1-7 to 2-7).
The Cats had been in command during the early stages. They even recovered from the shock of an early Monaghan goal, a long range score that came after the sliotar dipped under the bar at the last second, hitting a rich vein of form as they mined an unanswerable 1-4 between the 14th and 23rd minutes.
The team’s top scorer Orla Hanrick pointed a free in the 14th minute before Julie-Anne Malone set up Catherine Foley for a well-taken goal 60 seconds later.
Sarah-Anne Quinlan and Aine Kinsella added points to keep the run going, while Hanrick pointed a 45 to stretch Kilkenny’s lead to five points (1-6 to 1-1). Clodagh McGrath shaved a score off the deficit before the break, nabbing a 27th minute point; Kilkenny were fortunate that more didn’t follow, as some heroic defending denied Galway a goal chance in injury-time.
An Orla Hanrick free made it a five-point game in the opening minutes of the second half, but Galway were about to hit top gear and take control of the game. After snatching the lead they refused to relinquish it, outscoring Kilkenny by 0-5 to 0-3 over the closing quarter, all five points coming from top scorer Monaghan.
Kilkenny kept plugging away until the bitter end, but despite the best attempts of Orla Hanrick and Sarah Anne Quinlan they couldn’t manufacture the crucial goal they needed to rescue their title hopes.
Galway soaked up plenty of Kilkenny pressure in the closing stages, dropping players back. Ailish O’Reilly did plenty of trojan work, while Maria Cooney was an inspiring presence in defence.
SCORERS: Galway - Rachel Monaghan (2-8, 1-6 frees 0-2 45s); Orlaith McGrath (0-2); Clodagh McGrath, Ailish O’Reilly (0-1 each). Kilkenny - Orla Hanrick (0-6, 0-4 frees, 0-1 45); Catherine Foley (1-0); Sarah Anne Quinlan (0-2); Aine Kinsella, Lydia Fitzpatrick (0-1 each).
Kilkenny - Noelle Murphy (Lisdowney), Laura Dunne (Danesfort), Niamh Phelan (Windgap, capt), Michaela Kenneally (Windgap), Meighean Farrell (Thomastown), Miriam Walsh (Tullaroan), Kate Holland (Lisdowney), Aine Kinsella (Mullinavat), Kelly Hamilton (Rower-Inistioge), Orla Hanrick (Dicksboro), Sarah Anne Quinlan (Young Irelands), Julie-Anne Malone (Mullinavat), Lydia Fitzpatrick (St Lachtain’s), Catherine Foley (Windgap), Marie Doheny (St Brigid’s). Subs: Aine Gannon (Rower-Inistioge) for Holland, 47 mins; Niamh Bambrick (Windgap) for Doheny, 55 mins.
Galway - Sarah Skehill, Laura Porter, Aisling Spellman, Sarah Keehan, Michelle Dunleavy, Lorraine Farrell (capt), Siobhan Gardener, Clodagh McGrath, Maria Cooney, Rachel Monaghan, Maria Breheny, Orlaith McGrath, Aoibhinn Kenny, Lisa Hynes, Ailish O’Reilly.
Referee - Mike O’Kelly(Cork).