Late heartache for Galway women in All-Ireland replayOctober 4, 2012 - 7:00am
Eoghan Cormican in Ashbourne
UNLIKE the hurling sequel, this All-Ireland Intermediate camogie final replay would prove a carbon copy of its first instalment, the outcome being the only difference of note and what a cruel one it proved to be.
Devastation engulfed the Galway players and management after falling agonisingly short in an engrossing struggle with Derry in Ashbourne on Saturday. The sight of Orla Curtin slumped in front of the dug-out at the game’s end painted its own picture. Inconsolable, heartbroken women.
It was by no means a classic camogie decider for, at times, the game developed into a largely scrappy affair, but in terms of entertainment value the final quarter had it all – intensity, bravery, physicality, two excellent goals and a conclusion to rival the best of them.
Leading by one with only a minute left on the clock, Galway had the finish line firmly in sight, but having refused to leave the Westerners slipstrea, Derry made their bid for home in the most dramatic fashion as Karen Kielt delivered the defining strike in pilfering a priceless goal. Galway were left punch drunk by the score and unlike the drawn fixture, there was to be no late reprieve.
At different stages in the first-half when Galway led by 1-5 to 0-1 and 2-6 to 0-6, they seemed to be on the cusp of delivering a knock-out blow, but alas it never arrived, and when Derry caught the scent of victory in that final quarter, it was to prove fatal for Tony Ward’s side.
While Karen Kielt opened Derry’s account after just 40 seconds, Galway exerted early pressure to race into a 1-5 to 0-1 lead by the 14th minute. An Elaine O’Sullivan minor was followed by a fortuitous Ailish O’Reilly goal after Deirdre’s Burke initial effort dropped short.
Marie Brehony and Deirdre Burke added points subsequently, before Emma Kilkelly and centre-back Sarah Noone sniped a pair of frees.
In the ensuing minutes, Katie McAnenly tallied Derry’s first score in quarter of an hour of play and though Karen Kielt added a second free subsequently, the Northerners were dealt a second blow when Orla Curtin fired a rocket to Clare O’Kane’s net on 21 minutes.
Lorraine Farrell, Ailish O’Reilly and Burke were instrumental in the build-up with the Kinvara stickwoman applying the most clinical of finishes from the 20 yard line.
Eight points to the fore, Galway were enjoying a hugely fruitful spell and if a couple of more scores had been added during this period, they would have been out the gap by half-time. Instead, Derry, through Karen Kielt and Sinead Cassidy, hit three points on the trot to put their opponents within reach.
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.