Ward reflects on ‘bizarre’ epic

All-Ireland winning Galway camogie manager Tony Ward has admitted their epic quarter-final win over Clare was the most ‘bizarre’ game he’s ever been involved in.

Ward reflects on ‘bizarre’ epic

The tie went to extra-time despite Galway scoring a point from a 45 metre free which, they argued, should have won them the match in normal time.

Niamh McGrath’s score occurred just moments before the two teams were forced to run for cover for around 10 minutes due to torrential rain and referee Mike O’Kelly did not to register the score.

Holders Galway eventually prevailed after extra-time and will face Kilkenny in a rematch of last year’s final on either Saturday or Sunday week.

“Never in my life was I involved in anything like Saturday’s game,” said Ward. “You could call it bizarre, off the wall stuff really. We went into our dressing-room at 2.30 and we didn’t leave it until 7 o’clock that evening.”

On the issue of the point that didn’t register as an official score, Ward said he kept it from his players so as not to interfere with their focus for extra time.

“What happened was we got a free in, Niamh McGrath put it over but Mike O’Kelly’s argument was that he hadn’t let play continue. We argued that he had because there was some more play after it before we left the pitch.

Galway eventually won by 2-10 to 0-14 though Ward pointed out that some followers were hit in the pocket by the referee’s decision.

“You’d think that once you win the game, it doesn’t matter but it’s amazing the amount of people who have said to me in the last few days, ‘Jaysus, why didn’t you win it in normal time, we had money on Galway’,” said Ward. “The bet was lost when it ended in a draw after normal time.”

Another big talking point was the decision not to allow the players to return to their dressing-rooms during the downpour.

Ward described the freak spell of rain as doubly as bad as that which lashed the Kilkenny and Limerick hurlers for several minutes at Croke Park on Sunday.

“It was absolutely torrential, you literally couldn’t see the far side of the field,” said Ward. “I think Clare were more anxious to get it cancelled than we were. We were quite happy to stay out in it.”

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