High-scoring Galway secure third-ever camogie title with first-half goal blast

High-scoring Galway secure third-ever camogie title with first-half goal blast

Galway 3-14 - 0-17 Kilkenny

Goal-hungry Galway secured only the county's third-ever All-Ireland senior camogie title, a devastating first-half assault on the Kilkenny goal laying the foundation for victory.

Galway's three first-half goals had the slight underdogs six ahead at the break and though Kilkenny narrowed the gap to two 10 minutes from time, Galway finished with four unanswered points to add to the 1996 and 2013 O'Duffy Cup triumphs.

Two of those final four scores were provided by the outstanding Niamh Kilkenny, the midfielder rewarded for years and years of consistency since first joining the set-up as a teenager in the mid-noughties.

Kilkenny showed far more intent at the beginning of the second period, throwing over four-in-a-row from Aoife Doyle, Michelle Quilty (free), Miriam Walsh, and Anna Farrell to narrow the gap to three.

The excellent Kilkenny and Carrie Dolan ('45) steadied the ship for the westerners, but three more from Kilkenny had them back within two of their opponents. And when Carrie Dolan sent wide a routine free thereafter, you wondered if Galway were about to stiffen as the finishing line came into view. They did anything but.

High-scoring Galway secure third-ever camogie title with first-half goal blast

For Kilkenny, this was a third straight All-Ireland final defeat, fifth this decade, and sixth since 2009.

The concern before throw-in, from a Galway perspective, was that their defence would struggle to prevent the Kilkenny forwards from mining a couple of green flags, a worry that was heightened by confirmation half-back Tara Kenny would play no part in the game after damaging her knee at training midweek.

And while there were ample goal chances in a most exciting first-half, each and every one of them was made by the women wearing maroon. They went back down the tunnel at half-time having raised the green flag on three occasions and could possibly have had two more, but for last-ditch Kilkenny interventions.

High-scoring Galway secure third-ever camogie title with first-half goal blast

Ailish O’Reilly supplied the first goal of this final, watched by a record-breaking 24,730, after just 86 seconds, the corner-forward set-up by Niamh Kilkenny and Aoife Donoghue.

O’Reilly was involved in goal number two on 26 minutes, her initial effort held up by a cluster of black and amber jerseys, as was that of Sarah Spellman, Niamh Hanniffy whipping the rebound to the net.

High-scoring Galway secure third-ever camogie title with first-half goal blast

That score put Galway into a 2-6 to 0-10 lead and there was five between them little over a minute and a half later as O’Reilly drilled home her second of the game. Galway actually finished out the first-half by hitting 2-2 without reply to leave them 3-7 to 0-10 ahead at the break.

Kilkenny was largely reliant on the dead-ball ability of Michelle Quilty in that opening period, the Mullinavat corner-forward stroking over six frees and one from play. Denise Gaule was busy too, hitting two from play.

High-scoring Galway secure third-ever camogie title with first-half goal blast

Kilkenny endeavoured to bridge the gap in the second period, but for the Cats, in the end, it was an all too familiar September feeling of woe.

Scorers for Galway: C Dolan (0-6, 0-4 frees); A O'Reilly (2-0); N Kilkenny (0-4); N Hanniffy (1-0); S Spellman, N Coen, Sarah Healy (0-1 free), C Finnerty (0-1 each).

Scorers for Kilkenny: M Quilty (0-8, 0-7 frees); D Gaule (0-3, 0-1 free); A Dalton (0-2, 0-1 free); D Tobin, A Farrell, A Doyle (0-1 each).

Galway: Sarah Healy; Shauna Healy, S Dervan, H Cooney; E Helebert, C Cormican, L Ryan; A Donoghue, N Kilkenny; C Dolan, S Spellman, N Coen; C Finnerty, N Hanniffy, A O’Reilly.

Subs: AM Starr for Coen (43 mins); R Hennelly for Spellman (50).

Kilkenny: E Kavanagh; C Dormer, C Foley, G Walsh; K Doyle, C Phelan, E Keane; M Farrell, D Tobin; D Gaule, A Dalton, A Farrell; M Quilty, M Walsh K Power.

Subs: A Doyle for Keane (27); D Morrissey for Doyle (56).

Referee: R Kelly (Kildare).


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