Galway Ladies come up short in championship’s opening round

Kerry secured a crucial 3-10 to 3-8 win at Galway's expense in the opening round of the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies' Senior Championship at St Brendan’s Park in Birr on Saturday.

Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh kicked eight points for Kerry, who were three points in front at the break and dominated possession for long spells.

After second-half goals from Paris McCarthy and Niamh Carmody for the Dubliners, Galway fought back with Olivia Divilly and Tracey Leonard in fine form, but fell short.

After a nervous opening from both sides, Nicola Ward stormed through to finish Galway’s opening score in the fifth minute. However, Kerry fired back immediately through Ní Mhuircheartaigh, and a surging run from Aishling O’Connell pushed Kerry into a two-point lead.

It was 12 minutes before Tracey Leonard opened her account from a free, but Ní Mhuircheartaigh, who was impressive in the opening half, struck the first of four frees to push Kerry one clear.

However, Galway took control when Leanne Coen punched to the net after good work from Olivia Divilly, Mairéad Seoighe and Andrea Trill, and when Tracey Leonard followed up with a superb score a minute later, the initiative was with Galway.

It was shortlived. Kerry upped their intensity, and a long high pass from Sarah Ní Loingsigh found Scanlon who fired home from short distance to level the game at 1-3 each. And when Ní Mhuircheartaigh kicked three frees, Kerry led 1-6 to 1-3 at the break.

Cáit Lynch scored on the resumption, but once again Galway responded when Olivia Divilly found Leonard who fired over, before adding two more points from play to leave the minimum between the sides.

Kerry once again responded with Ní Mhuircheartaigh pointing her sixth of the evening before they delivered two decisive blows - two goals inside three minutes. Substitute McCarthy got on the end of a free that dropped short to punch to the net, before Niamh Carmody added Kerry’s third goal two minutes later.

Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Leonard traded points before Galway were disallowed a goal when Ailish Morrissey was adjudged to have been in the square.

Although Kerry ended the game with 13 players as Scanlon and Ní Mhuircheartaigh were shown yellow cards, Galway came up just short. Olivia Divilly got on the scoresheet before Louise Ward drilled the ball into the bottom left corner and Leanne Coen made no mistake with her second goal. However, time ran out as Kerry held on.

Galway scorers: T Leonard 0-6 (1f ), L Coen 2-0, L Ward 1-0, N Ward 0-1, O Divilly 0-1.

Kerry : C Butler; É Lynch, K Cronin, A Dillane; A O’Connell, E Costello, C Murphy; C Lynch, A Galvin; D O’Leary, N Carmody, L Scanlon; N Ní Chonchúir, E McGlynn, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh. Subs: P McCarthy for Ní Chonchúir (21 ), S O’Shea for McGlynn (46 ), C Evans for O’Leary (52 ), C Ní Chonchúir for Dillane (56 ), M O’Connell for Carmody (59 ).

Galway: A Griffin; S Molloy, S Ní Loingsigh, E Gavin; C Cooney, N Ward, K Geraghty; A Davoren, L Ward; L Coen, A Trill, M Seoighe; L Noone, O Divilly, T Leonard. Subs: K Slevin for A Trill (26 ), C Trill for Gavin (30 ), S Divilly for Davoren (30 ), A Morrissey for Seoighe (36 ), A Molloy for S Molloy (52 ).Referee: M Farrelly (Cavan )


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