Late goals secure opening day win for Galway Ladies

Galway’s Leann Coen is chased by Cork’s Katie Quirke in the TG4 Championship round one game at Pearse Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Galway’s Leann Coen is chased by Cork’s Katie Quirke in the TG4 Championship round one game at Pearse Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Two goals from Ailbhe Davoren and one from Kate Slevin in the final minute secured a six-point (3-11 to 1-11 ) opening day victory for Galway over Cork in the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship at Pearse Stadium in Salthill.

The Tribeswomen had trailed 1-9 to 1-8 entering the final quarter, but 1-2 unanswered points, including Davoren’s second goal gave Fiona Wynne and Maghnus Breathnach's team a buffer.

Cork refused to yield as Katie Quirke and Doireann O’Sullivan left them just 2-11 to 1-11 behind, but when Nicola Ward went on another trademark run in the final minute, she found Slevin inside who finished the job.

Both teams had taken their time to settle before Cork opened with a Doireann O’Sullivan free on four minutes. But the pace soon picked up with Hannah Noone equalising for Galway.

Galway reaped dividends when Leanne Coen, Louise and Nicola Ward combined to put Davoren through for their first goal on nine minutes for a 1-1 to 0-1 lead. But Cork were back in charge within four minutes. Two Doireann O’Sullivan frees reduced arrears to the minimum, and when Eimear Kiely’s 45 dropped into the square on 13 minutes, Doireann O’Sullivan may not have found a way past keeper Karen Connolly, but her sister Ciara was on hand to stroke into the net.

However, the Tribeswomen equalised by the quarter hour with cousins Roisin and Tracey Leonard finding the target, but in this closely-fought encounter both sides were level twice more - the O’Sullivan sisters raising Cork white flags, and Coen and Tracey Leonard following suit for Galway.

It was 1-5 apiece on 20 minutes before the Munster champions restored their lead when captain Máire O’Callaghan, introduced for the injured Sarah Leahy, set up Ciara O’Sullivan.

However, Galway had the final say when a Roisin Leonard free, and Davoren gave the hosts a 1-7 to 1-6 interval lead.

Again Cork gained the advantage after the break with Doireann O’Sullivan landing two frees, the second won by Melissa Duggan.

However Roisin Leonard profited from a splitting pass by cousin Treacy to level at 1-8 apiece, and it was tit for tat when O’Sullivan and Slevin’s exchanged frees.

The crucial score came when Davoren claimed her second goal and Galway did not look back, with Slevin slotting home their third goal in the dying moments.

Scorers – Galway: A Davoren 2-1, K Slevin 1-3 (0-2f ), R Leonard 0-3 (1f ), T Leonard 0-2, H Noone 0-1, L Coen 0-1.

Cork: D O’Sullivan 0-8 (8f ), C O’Sullivan (1-2 ), K Quirke 0-1.

G ALWAY : K Connolly; K Geraghty, S Ni Loingsigh, A Ni Cheallaigh; A Molloy, N Ward, S Brennan; L Ward, L Coen; O Divilly, H Noone, L Noone; T Leonard, A Davoren, R Leonard. Subs: K Slevin for R Leonard (41 ), E Noone for L Noone (41 ), S Healy for Brennan (41 ), S Divilly for Molloy (54 ), C Miskell for T Leonard (53 ).

C ORK : M O’Sullivan; M Duggan, E Meaney, R Phelan; E Cleary, S Kelly, A Ryan; S Leahy, H Looney; K Quirke, D O’Sullivan, C O’Sullivan; L O’Mahony, E Kiely, D Kiely. Subs: M O’Callaghan for Leahy (15 ), L Coppinger for Cleary (42 ), D Kiniry for O’Mahony (51 ), L Fitzgerald for D Kiely (52 ).

Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (Kerry ).


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