It was a dreadfully disappointing display from Ollie Bergin’s charges, who were fancied to make it a two-in-a-row, but the failure to perform brought a miserable end to a forgettable weekend for Galway camogie, after defeats in the Division 2 and minor A championship deciders.
If patrons arrived looking forward to a potentially explosive individual battle between two of the game’s premier midfielders, they were to be disappointed.
While some eyebrows might have been raised by Kilkenny’s decision to deploy Anne Dalton at right half-forward, it wasn’t revolutionary given her previous experience in the role.
The surprise came in the positioning of Niamh Kilkenny at full-forward, particularly as it meant that Galway goal getter Molly Dunne was relocated to left half-forward.
That experiment was dispensed with after 15 minutes, as Kilkenny dominated exchanges around the centre, where Anna Farrell especially stood out.
Perhaps Kilkenny (the player) was carrying an injury, as she remained in attack. Instead, Bergin moved Aoife Donoghue to midfield in a bid to counteract the Noreside dominance. It did have some impact and after a lethargic first half, Galway were more competitive on the restart, winning frees from direct running.
It was notable though that their five second-half points all came from placed balls, and they managed only one score from play, a Donoghue point in the first half.
The improvement was nowhere near sufficient to effect a turnaround in their fortunes and Ann Downey’s outfit saw the game out comfortably enough, although the former great would have preferred more from her forwards in the latter stages.
However, she would have been delighted with the manner in which they started with quickfire points from Julie Ann Malone and Farrell, the latter taking a pass from younger sister Shelly before finishing well. Shauna Burke made two excellent saves as Kilkenny poured forward.
The Galway goalkeeper should have done better in between, however, when Shelly Farrell laid the groundwork once more for Anna, whose dipping shot finished in the net in the 11th minute.
Quarter of an hour had elapsed before Galway got off the mark, with the first of Niamh McGrath’s six pointed frees, but Kilkenny were well in control and Dalton fired over brilliantly on the run before Gaule brought her tally to three to make it 1-6 to 0-2 at half time.
The blustery wind continued to make it difficult for players but Galway resumed with more vigour and had the margin down to four with nine minutes to go.
Kilkenny shut the door on them in resounding fashion, with a stunning goal, involving three delightful stick passes by the two Farrells and Gaule, before Malone launched a rocket high to the corner of the Galway net. It probably said much for Kilkenny’s superior energy levels that they could find a free player at that end of the field on three occasions in the move, despite playing with a sweeper for the second half.
There was no way back for Galway from that.
A Farrell, JA Malone 1-1 each; D Gaule 0-3(fs); A Dalton, SA Quinlan 0-1 each.
N McGrath 0-6(fs); A Donoghue 0-1.
AM Lennon, J Frisby, D Tobin, C Dormer, S Quirke, E Keane, S Kent, KA Doyle, A Farrell, A Dalton, JA Malone, D Gaule, SA Quinlan, M Walsh, S Farrell.
C Phelan for Quirke (36), M Quilty for Doyle (46).
S Burke, H Cooney, S Dervan, S Coen, A Starr, R Hennelly, L Ryan, S Healy, C McGrath, A Donoghue, N McGrath, M Dunne, A Callanan, N Kilkenny, A O’Reilly.
O McGrath for Dunne (45), N Coen for Callanan (47), T Kenny for S Coen (53)
C Egan (Cork).