McGrath goal seals with strong second half

The Galway Senior Camogie team made it three wins from three against Cork this year when they overcame their rivals in the opening round of the Glen Dimplex All Ireland Senior Camogie Championship on Saturday by 1-12 to 0-12.

In a sun-drenched Kenny Park, Galway had a battle on their hands with Cork hitting them hard early on, but their experience helped in getting them over the line after a strong second-half showing.

Galway opened the scoring within 45 seconds when Sarah Spellman was fouled on the 65m line and Carrie Dolan, always so accurate with frees, made no mistake in sticking the ball over the bar.

Chloe Sigerson, who seemed to be given a lot of space by Galway in the opening few minutes, levelled on two minutes, and a minute later delivered a superb cross field ball to Katrina Mackey who slotted over to give Cork the lead.

Dolan brought the sides level after being fouled in the fifth minute before Cork grabbed a hold on the game. Scoring the next three points from Mackey and Sigerson and a 45m free from captain Amy O’Connor, Cork reaped the benefits of delivering quality balls into their forwards, posing a threat to the Galway defence.

Aoife Donohue teamed up with Ailish O’Reilly, who scored Galway’s opening point from play in the 14th minute, while Donohue replied with a point two minutes later before an O’Connor free extended Cork’s lead.

The Cork captain broke through for a goal chance in the 21st minute, but her pass was brilliantly intercepted by Galway keeper Fiona Ryan. However, O’Connor managed to produce a point from the deflection to restore their three-point lead.

Two frees from Dolan in the 27th and 30th minutes reduced the deficit again, before Sigerson and Dolan exchanged points during six minutes of first-half injury time. Cork had the final say, however, with Mackey slotting over two more points to leave Cork 0-10 to 0-7 ahead at the break.

Galway, needing a big performance in the second half after their below par first half, started very well, and held Cork scoreless for the opening 20 minutes. Dolan produced two frees pointed in the first two minutes before Siobhán McGrath, making her first appearance for Galway this year, added her name on the scorecard in the 41st minute to bring the sides level.

The game was there for the taking, similar to their previous two meetings, and this time Dolan, through a free, and McGrath from play, put Galway into the lead for the first time since the opening minute of the game, putting them in the driving seat.

Cork had missed several frees from a range of different players, but Mackey tried to settle the ship for Cork with a well-pointed free from near the sideline to leave one between the sides.

However, in the 24th minute, a well worked team effort that began with a pass out of defence from Dervla Higgins paid dividends. Higgins found Niamh Hanniffy before Siobhán Gardiner took on the Cork defence. Then lobbing the ball past Amy Lee, McGrath delivered the final touch to ensure the ball ended up in the back of Cork net.

Galway remained scoreless for the rest of the half, while Mackey did add another free to Cork’s tally deep into injury time, but it was Galway who emerged victorious.

Galway will be delighted to have opened their campaign with a win. While they underperformed in the first half, they turned the tables after half-time, putting the pressure on Cork which enabled them to grind out a victory in very hot conditions.

Galway will be impressed with the way in which their defence held strong in the second half, and how the players up front worked hard to win frees and deliver scores from play. Cork, on the other hand, will look back at missed chances. Their wide count kept creeping up in the second half, while they never looked like threatening the Galway goal either.

Murray's charges now face Clare on Saturday June 17 in Clare where they will look to make it two wins from two.

Minor stars

Three Galway players have been named in the 2023 Electric Ireland Camogie Minor Star Team of the Year, Ava Crowe (Galway and Carnmore ), Kayla Madden (Galway and Athenry ) and Aoibheann Barry (Galway and Kinvara ).

GALWAY: F Ryan; S Healy, R Black, D Higgins; S Gardiner, E Helebert, R Hanniffy; A Donohue (0-1 ), N Hanniffy; S Rabbitte, S Spellman, A Keane; C Dolan (0-8, 0-7F ), S McGrath (1-2 ), A O’Reilly (0-1 ). Subs: S Dervan for Keane (58 ), S Corcoran for O’Reilly (63 ), N McPeake for Rabbitte (65 ), A Kelly for Spellman (68 ).

CORK: A Lee; M Murphy, L Coppinger, M Cahalane; A Healy, L Treacy, I O’Regan; S McCarthy, H Looney; C Sigerson (0-3 ), F Keating, C Healy; A O’Connor (0-3, 0-1 45M, 0-1F ), O Cahalane, K Mackey (0-6,0-2f ). Subs: S MCartan for O’Connor (39 ), E Murphy for O’Regan (47 ), A Smith for Healy (59 ), C Finn for Cahalane (63 ), H Ryan for Healy (66 ).


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