Resurgent Galway go on a goal spree to sink the BannerAugust 24, 2012 - 7:00am
JASON BYRNE IN BIRR
IT was very much a case of job done for the Galway ladies footballers in Birr last Saturday as they reached the All-Ireland semi-finals for the first time since 2005.
The lengthy gap since their last competitive outing in the form of the emphatic comeback win over Mayo was evident in the early stages, but fitness proved pivotal as Gabriel Naughton’s charges eventually, and inevitably, disposed of a stubborn Clare challenge spearheaded by the wonderful Niamh O’Dea.
But goals win games, and revitalised Galway hit five past Clare skipper Emma O’Driscoll to ensure a berth in the last four and banish their quarter-final demons of the previous six campaigns.
The game opened sluggishly for Galway and tit-for-tat scores dominated the first quarter. After 12 minutes, the Banner county led 0-5 to 0-3 thanks to three Ailish Considine frees, and scores from Niamh Keane and O’Dea.
Galway’s white flags came from Eilis Gannon and two from Edel Concannon, but they almost forced an opening goal when Gannon aimed to find a free Deirdre Brennan but her pass was too close to O’Driscoll and Brennan was clattered to the turf.
A minute later, Claire Hehir had a goal scoring attempt, but her drive came off the crossbar. Again Galway attacked and were starting to find a flow, illustrated by their next move.
Aoibheann Daly sent a long ball to stalwart Annette Clarke who squared to a darting Geraldine Conneally, but her shot was well saved by O’Driscoll, and Clarke sent the rebound over the bar.
O’Dea kept Clare two in front before Galway quickly nudged themselves six ahead in the space of three minutes. Concannon launched Galway’s latest attack and Clarke collected a great visionary pass, and she squared to Daly who fired into the net.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.