Galway Ladies enter relegation dogfight

Kerry 2-11 Galway 0-12

Galway pushed champions Kerry all the way in this Lidl NFL Division 1 contest, played in Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney.

However defeat for Galway means their game against Monaghan is a must-win affair. A loss for either side will ensure relegation to Division 2.

Kerry’s win propels them to the Lidl NFL Division 1 final for the second year in a row. They will defend the title they claimed in 2023 against Armagh on April 7 at Croke Park.

Kerry started the better of the two sides and found themselves 1-3 to 0-1 ahead after 14 minutes. Niamh Carmody got the home side off the mark in the second minute but Roisin Leonard equalised three minutes later with a brilliant free off the ground from 40 metres.

Kerry struck for a fortunate goal when Danielle O’Leary looked to be shooting for a point but it dipped into the top corner of Dearbhla Gower’s net. Lorraine Scanlon pointed from the kick out and the lively Katie Brosnan popped over another to push Kerry 1-3 to 0-1 ahead.

From there on Galway started to take control of the half and they struck for four points on the bounce as they attacked Kerry in waves. Indeed, they may have had a goal in the 28th minute but for a last ditch block by Kayleigh Cronin on Emma Reaney.

Roisin Leonard pointed another free from the ground, Emma Reaney, excellent in the Galway forward line hit a brace. Aoife O’Riordan then scored on the stroke of half-time, leaving the visitors just one in arrears, 1-3 to 0-5 at the break.

Substitute Niamh Ní Chonchúir and Roisin Leonard (free ) traded scores at the start of the second half before Shauna Hynes gave Galway the lead for the first time in the game two minutes later.

Kerry subsequently awoke from their slumber. The homes side hit three on the trot thanks to two Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh frees and a monster effort from Anna Galvin. This pushed the hosts 1-7 to 0-8 ahead in the 42nd minute of what was turning into an absorbing contest.

Leonard struck another free for the visitors and Emma Reaney with her third from play before Kerry’s second goal. Ní Chonchúir fed O’Donoghue who finished expertly to the back of the net.

Both sides exchanged scores near the finish, including two from the excellent O’Donoghue. Kerry had done enough to book a final date in Croke Park in a couple of weeks time. Galway travelled home empty-handed, despite a valiant effort.

Speaking on the possibility of relegation, Galway manager Daniel Moynihan said: “It won’t be the end of the world if we go down to Division 2. It’s been a good few years since we were down there and it won’t be the be all and end all. With the two up and two down you could see a lot of flip flopping with teams over the next few years. We’ll give the Waterford game a right go whenever it’s fixed to play.”

 

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