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Galway Defy The Odds At Parnell Park And Blow Ladies Football Championship Wide Open

Galway Defy The Odds At Parnell Park And Blow Ladies Football Championship Wide Open
Karen Duddy
By Karen Duddy
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Karen Duddy at Parnell Park

In a cracking contest at Parnell Park, the echoes of last week’s result for the Galway men against the All-Ireland champions hung in the air as the Tribeswomen produced an identical result and dethroned last year’s champions Dublin. A sensational extra time goal from Aoife O’Rourke sealed it for Galway as they progress to the All-Ireland Semi-Finals in two weeks. 

Dublin took to the pitch without their captain, Carla Rowe, whose absence was to be felt heavily. Olivia Divilly opened up the scoring for Galway,  which was answered by four consecutive Dublin points from Sinead Goldrick, Jennifer Dunne, Nicole Owens and Hannah Tyrell.

It was a strong start for the Dubs who held possession, won Galway kick-outs and created opportunities from play. However, with these chances came wides, and they began to pile up. 

In a Galway counterattack, despite crucial tackles from defender Martha Byrne and goalkeeper Abby Shields, Róisín Leonard buried a loose ball into the net with 14 minutes gone. With wind in their sails, momentum swung in favour of the Tribeswomen, forcing Dublin to lose their discipline and put in loose tackles. Leonard took a calm free from the ground to put Galway ahead for the first time. 

Another wide for the Sky Blues made the tally five. The pressure was on. Both sides forced turnover after turnover, echoed by cheers from the crowd. A high tackle just inside the box meant a penalty for Dublin. The experienced Tyrell struck it into the top left corner to give the Girls in Blue a two-point lead. On the stroke of half time, Dublin were dispossessed and Leonard once again found the back of the net to give Galway the half-time lead. 

Despite a shaky restart for each side, substitute Anabelle Timothy put the sides level with a great point from build-up play involving Caoimhe O’Connor and Goldrick. Tensions rose at Parnell. O’Connor was brought down inside the 14, and Galway wing-back Aoife Ní Cheallaigh, sin-binned. The free was put away by Tyrell.  


The physicality intensified, and more wides from each side ensued. Nicole Owens pointed a left-footer and Dublin found themselves two up. The unrelenting Galway refused to give in, and in the tense final minutes substitute Ailish Morrissey and Leonard put scores away to bring the game to extra time. Lauren Magee was sin-binned amidst the chaos. 

A quick and clear build up play with Owens and Niamh Hetherton set Tyrell up to split the uprights minutes into extra time. Galway's Louise Ward and Leonard replied fiercely, winning a free for Divilly to send over. The teams were level for the 6th time. Byrne set up Donlon to send one over the bar and Sinéad Aherne followed suit. Galway pointed again and they found themselves just a score down at the half. 

Tyrell extended the lead to two. Just as Dublin thought they had weathered the storm, a massive play from the incredible Ward sisters allowed O’Rourke to shake the net.



In the final tense seconds of the game, Dublin won a free inside the half. Tyrell dropped it into the box, and much to the relief of everyone in maroon and white that evening, a free out was given and that was game. 

“I would’ve told you three weeks ago we were probably playing the best football we played as a group” Bohan told Q102 after the game. But injuries to Kate Sullivan, Orla Nolan and Carla Rowe culminated in a major setback which, according to Bohan, sucked the belief from the team. 

LGFA: Four left standing

Earlier on Saturday, Cork secured their place in the All-Ireland semi-finals with an emphatic win over Waterford in Supervalu Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The scoreline was 1-17 to 2-4, where the Rebellettes had a two point lead heading into the half. Despite strong efforts from the Deise, including points from sisters Emma and Kate Murry, and a late goal from Clodagh Carrol, Cork had the wind to their backs and coolly put 1-11 on the scoreboard to close the game out.   


Kerry got the better of Meath for a second year in a row in Tralee to see themselves through to a semi-f. Although having a lead going into the break thanks to scores from Marion Farrelly and Emma Duggan, and introducing former Footballer of the Year Vikki Wall, Meath couldn’t keep up. The Kingdom were too hungry for it. They had the wind to their backs after half-time and quickly slotted over seven unanswered points, two of which came from substitute Siofra O’Shea. The game ended 0-16 to 0.08. 

Armagh kept Mayo at bay in the last quarter-final of the weekend at BOX-IT Athletics Grounds in a victory of 2-11 to 0-11. Armagh led 1-6 to 0-3 at halftime after an early goal from Blaithin Mackin. Despite Mayo's efforts, including fine scores from Lisa Cafferky and Maria Cannon, Armagh’s strong defence and counter-attacks secured a 2-8 to 0-6 lead going into the final quarter. Mayo couldn’t quite get the goal they were after to help narrow the Orchard County’s lead, and Cafferky’s final points weren’t enough to change the tide. 

Cork will play Galway and Armagh face Kerry in the All-Ireland Semi-Finals at Glensik Park, Tullamore on 20th July. 







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