Connacht champions Galway cruised into the last four of the 2012 TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship following a 12-point victory against Clare at St Brendan’s Park, Birr, on Saturday afternoon.
Edel Concannon hit 1-7 as the Westerners booked their place in a first semi-final since 2005.
But despite being on the losing side, Clare’s magnificent full-forward Niamh O’Dea claimed the player of the match award, having scored 1-6 of her 1-8 tally from play.
Ultimately, it was a run of 1-5 without reply immediately after half-time that saw Galway home, as a three-point interval lead was stretched to 11.
Emma Curley netted in the fourth minute of the second half and Galway, who were 13 points clear approaching the finish, were on their way against beaten Munster semi-finalists Clare.
The Banner County had stunned Meath in round 2 of the qualifiers but they were outclassed by rampant Galway.
Gutsy Clare, inspired by O’Dea’s goal with 13 minutes remaining, did cut the gap back to five points but Galway kicked for home and added further goals from Concannon with seven minutes remaining, before Curley slotted home a late penalty.
Galway led by 2-8 to 1-8 at half-time and a run of 2-2 without reply turned a two-point deficit into a six-point lead for the Westerners.
They were trailing by 0-4 to 0-6 before Aoibheann Daly steamed forward from midfield to score a 21st minute goal, with Claire Hehir and Annette Clarke adding quickfire points.
Clarke struck Galway’s second goal in the 23rd minute before the sides shared the next four points of the game.
Galway, having played with the breeze in the opening half, were cruising to a comfortable interval lead but 20 seconds before the hooter, Roisin Looney rekindled Clare hopes with a stunning goal.
The right half back collected a neat pass from Niamh O’Dea, scorer of three first half points, before sending a rising drive over the head of Galway goalkeeper Leonie Higgins and into the far corner.
Galway will have been disappointed with the concession of that goal, having recovered from a sluggish start to put themselves in a good position.
Gabriel Naughton’s charges could have had more goals too in the first half but Clare goalkeeper Emma O’Driscoll was in superb form, while Hehir struck the angle of post and crossbar with a speculative shot.
Clare: N O’Dea 1-8 (0-2f), A Considine 0-6 (5f), R Looney 1-0, N Keane & E Considine 0-1 each.
Galway: E Concannon 1-6 (0-3f), E Curley 2-0 (1-0 pen), A Clarke 1-2, A Daly 1-1, G O’Connor 0-3, G Conneally, C Hehir & L Joyce 0-2 each, E Gannon 0-1.
CLARE: E O’Driscoll; S Kelly, L Kelly, L Ryan; R Looney, L Henchy, M Delaney; M Considine, F Lafferty; N Carroll, N Keane, M Kelly; N Lardner, N O’Dea, A Considine.
Subs: E Considine for Lardner (21), S Harvey for Delaney (h.t.).
GALWAY; L Higgins; M Coyne, S Conneally, R McPhilbin; B Hannon, E Flaherty, S Burke; E Curley, A Daly; G Conneally, D Brennan, C Hehir; E Gannon, A Clarke, E Concannon.
Subs: G O’Connor for Gannon (26), L Joyce for Brennan (42), N Duggan for G Conneally (54), A Rohan for Curley (58).
Referee: M Farrelly (Cavan).