Heading into injury-time, at least one added minute was signalled by the referee and Clare were exerting enormous pressure, desperately in search of the goal they needed to bring this game to a replay.
With that one minute just about elapsed, they won what appeared to be their last chance, a free just outside the 20m line, dead centre, on Deirdre Murphy. She took the free herself, well-struck, equally well-saved by Susan Earner in the Galway goal, and cleared.
But the game went on, and on, with a second-chance free for Clare, 33rd minute, this time taken by captain Catherine O’Loughlin, saved again, and finally, third chance; in the 34th minute, late 34th minute, created and scored by captain O’Loughlin, so we get to do it all again, October 11.
Two super saves, both from the ever-dangerous Claire McMahon, denied underdogs Clare the kind of tonic start they needed, and sandwiched between the two, even more Clare heartbreak. Taking advantage of a long ball, skilful Galway corner-forward Emma Kilkelly controlled well, rounded Jane Scanlon, broke in along the end line and had a well-struck shot saved by O’Grady. Waiting on the rebound was Ann-Marie Hayes.
Hanny, best wing-forward on view, opened the Galway account on the resumption, to put them five points in front, but a pair from a very determined Deirdre Murphy, sandwiched around a point from Aoife Ryan, had Clare within two points by the 45th minute, back in the hunt.
Not for long. After some great teamwork the ball eventually came to Kilkelly on the edge of the square. Goal Galway, 2-8 to 1-6, but back again came Clare. Point Murphy, goal O’Loughlin, point McMahon, tied game, 52nd minute. Then came a handling error from O’Grady, Hayes accepting her second gift goal of the game, and right on the 60th minute, a point from midfielder Colette Glennon.
Fittingly however, it was that dynamic scoring duo of Murphy and O’Loughlin to the rescue for Clare.
Scorers for Clare: C. O'Loughlin 2-1; D. Murphy 1-6 (0-5 frees); A. Ryan, C. McMahon, 0-1 each.
Galway: A.M. Hayes 2-0; M. Flanagan 0-4 (0-1 free, 0-1 45); E. Kilkelly 1-0; B. Hanny 0-3; B. Kerins, C. Glennon, 0-1 each.
CLARE: T. O'Grady; J. Scanlon, D. Lynch, C. McMahon; M. O'Looney, N. Comyns, M. Whelan; L. Linnane, D. Corcoran; A. Ryan, D. Murphy, A. Keane; C. McMahon, C. O'Loughlin, C. Commane. Subs: R. Kaiser (Commane 37); E. Keating (Whelan 40); C. Lynch (Corcoran 47).
GALWAY: S. Earner; L. Flynn, S. Cahalan, N. Lawless; N. Gavin, R. O'Connor, S. Keane; C. Kelly, C. Glennon; B. Hanny, C. Bowes, M. Flanagan; B. Kerins, A.M. Hayes; E. Kilkelly. Subs: A. Doherty (O'Connor 42); S. Keane (Flanagan 59).
Referee: E. Ryan (Tipperary). Good job, poor watch.