Galway girls fail to spark in finalAugust 9, 2012 - 8:12am
DREAMS of glory quickly turned to despair as Galway’s latest bid for All-Ireland U16 camogie success ran aground on the turf of O’Connor Park, Tullamore on Sunday last.
From the moment corner forward Tara Flaherty capitalised on a mistake in the Galway full back-line to net clinically on eight minutes until the closing stages, when they resisted relentless Galway pressure, Dublin looked composed, assured and in control.
Lorraine Larkin’s charges had overcome Dublin by the narrowest of margins in the earlier rounds of the championship, but on this occasion there was no disputing the stronger and more skilful outfit as Dublin ran out comfortable winners, leaving Galway to reflect on a game where defence and midfield were torn to shreds.
Three defenders were replaced in the second half as Galway struggled to hold down their opponents’ attacking unit, one laced with no little pace or indeed panache. Of the winner’s total, 4-8 was tallied from play with Tara Flaherty, Aisling O’Leary and Orla Beagan, in particular, profiting amid a troubled Galway rearguard.
Though changes were made, it could be argued they were too late in coming and in certain cases, unjust. Full forward Patricia Manning was first to be hauled ashore, but starved of possession she, along with corner forward’s Cliodhna Walsh and Erica Coen, was helpless to impact upon proceedings.
The problems, as noted, lay further afield and it was baffling how the Galway midfield partnership remained unchanged over the hour, though clearly an area of Dublin dominance.
Result aside, it was a hugely disappointing display from the Westerners who entered the contest boasting wins over Dublin, Clare and Cork.
Their starting six forwards managed just five scores from play, with three coming from the stick of Turloughmore’s Ciara Burke. It highlighted the extent to which the Galway attack struggled.
Three early wides dented the confidence of Galway’s forward division, a trait their opponents were by no means lacking. Indeed, Dublin had surged into a 1-4 to 0-0 lead when Emma Helebert pointed a free on 12 minutes. That lifted Galway out of their slumber as Ciara Burke and Erica Coen – a fortuitous goal involving Helebert and Melinda Earls – reduced the deficit with subsequent scores. Dublin’s response, however, was a real statement of intent.
Doireann Mullany, a hugely industrious figure throughout, took possession from a clearance out of defence, turned Andrea Mullins with consummate ease and nonchantly found the range from just inside the Galway 65’.
Mullany was again involved in the first score of the second half, setting-up Orla Beagan who left several maroon shirts trailing in her wake before unleashing a powerful drive to the roof of Tara Murphy’s goal.
At 2-5 to 1-2 and controlling most sectors comfortably, Dublin seemed ready to close out the game, but Galway weren’t going to go without a fight and three Ciara Burke minors provided a glimmer of hope for the Westerners.
Dublin, as they did all day, effortlessly answered the Galway brace through Eve Kehoe and Tara O’Flaherty. The young Tribeswomen again reduced the deficit to four (2-8 to 1-7) as Emma Helebert sniped a pair of frees in quick succession, but Dublin issued a decisive reply.
Doireann Mullany and Aoife Molloy worked possession inside to Aisling O’Leary and the full-forward duly obliged in hand passing the sliotar beyond Murphy. In the ensuing passage of play, O’Leary latched onto a booming delivery which caught out full-back Catriona Murphy.
The goal put Dublin ten points to the good, 4-8 to 1-7, after 50 minutes and well on their way to a first All Ireland title since 1982.
Nothing much went right for Galway after that. Though Amy Caulfield succeeded in tallying Galway’s second major on 51 minutes, a succession of Helebert frees went array and Dublin were more than successful in frustrating the efforts of Ciara Burke and Erica Coen.
The pair, shorn of support throughout, worked tirelessly in attempting to engineer the required goals necessary to drag Galway back into contention, but Dublin’s security system remained unlocked and when the final whistle sounded, there were few begrudging the Metropolitans a merited victory.