Galway pay the penalty

MONAGHAN and Mayo are through to the 2009 TG4 All-Ireland Ladies senior football championship semi-finals following Saturday’s quarter-final double header at Ballymahon GAA club in Longford.

Last year’s beaten finalists Monaghan booked their place in the last four with just a single point to spare against Connacht champions Galway, who missed a last minute penalty which would surely have won the game if converted.

Full-forward Niamh Kindlon was the scoring heroine in a 0-17 to 1-13 success.

But the Farney girls were thankful to goalkeeper Linda Martin for two brilliant late saves.

Martin was at fault as Galway forward Una Carroll goaled from a speculative long-range effort in the second-half.

But she made up for that with a brace of crucial stops in a dramatic finale.

Martin kept out Niamh Duggan with two minutes remaining and in the final minute Galway full-forward Duggan saw her penalty brilliantly saved by the Donaghmoyne netminder, with Monaghan hanging on 0-17 to 1-12.

Edel Byrne kicked five first half points as Monaghan led 0-9 to 0-4 at half-time before Galway fought their way back, with Carroll’s long-range strike deceiving Martin in the 36th minute and looping into the net.

Galway were level at 1-11 to 0-14 with ten minutes remaining but Kindlon grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck to open up a three point lead, before those dramatic final minutes.

Meanwhile, Cora Staunton’s second-half goal proved decisive for Mayo as the beaten Connacht finalists also advanced to the last four, on a 3-9 to 1-12 scoreline.

The lethal Staunton hit 0-12 against Laois in the qualifiers and contributed 1-5 as dogged Ulster champions Tyrone were finally seen off in a see-saw encounter at Ballymahon.

Staunton scored a superb solo goal with eight minutes remaining to hand beaten 2008 semi-finalists Mayo a 3-7 to 1-10 lead, after the sides had been level on four occasions.

Tyrone led by 1-6 to 1-3 at half-time but the Red Hands racked up eleven wides in the first half and were left to rue those misses.

Triona McNicholas netted after 11 minutes for Mayo’s first score after they had fallen two points behind in the early stages, before player of the match Joline Donnelly goaled for Tyrone in the 18th minute.

Donnelly scored 1-6 for Tyrone and was unfortunate to finish on the losing side but goals won this game for Mayo as Sinéad Cafferkey struck nine minutes after half-time for her team’s second major.

Both goalkeepers showed good form in this game and Mayo netminder Yvonne Byrne performed heroics with two minutes remaining to deny Niamh McKernan a certain goal as Tyrone chased the game.

The draw for the semi-finals will be made next Saturday, following the remaining quarter-finals; Cork v Kildare and Dublin v Kerry.

Meanwhile, beaten 2006 All-Ireland finalists Armagh ensured that they will be playing in next year’s senior championship after recording a 1-11 to 0-6 victory against Donegal in yesterday’s relegation playoff.

Armagh had this game well in control by half-time as they led by 1-7 to 0-3, with Caroline O’Hanlon contributing 1-3 before the break.

O’Hanlon finished as top scorer for the Orchard County with 1-5 after adding two points in the second half.

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