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Galway Learn 'An Awful Lot' After Draw With All-Ireland Champions Meath

Galway Learn 'An Awful Lot' After Draw With All-Ireland Champions Meath
By Ivan Smyth Updated
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Galway 0-9 Meath 0-9

New Meath manager Davy Nelson says the transition has been seamless while his players had to settle for a draw against Galway in the Lidl NFL Division 1 on Bank Holiday Monday.

It was a gritty display from the reigning champions in front of their home supporters in Páirc Tailteann but they could have won the game were it not for a last-gasp free from Aoife O’Rourke.

Nevertheless, Galway had been two points clear with ten minutes remaining before half-time substitute and TG4 All Star forward, Emma Duggan, proved crucial to Meath’s revival.

She kicked three points after her introduction but Meath missed out on the chance to register their second successive win.

“The panel have embraced the change. There’s no point looking for an excuse, last year’s gone. It was fabulous but it’s well and truly gone,” said Nelson.

We know there is a big number on Meath’s back. When Meath arrived up and won that first All-Ireland, people might have been forgiven for saying is that a flash in the pan.

The girls knew this but they backed it up last year. There’s a determination there to stay at the top table and anyone that gets through us is going to earn it.

Meath backed up their Lidl NFL win last year with another TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship success but they have had to introduce some fresh new faces in 2023.

And in their first game back at their home ground this season, it was a low-scoring first half where Galway took a 0-3 to 0-2 lead into half-time.

6 February 2023; Eimilie Gavin of Galway and Niamh Gallogly of Meath after the 2023 Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 1 Round 3 between Galway and Meath at Páirc Tailteann in Navan, Meath. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Shauna Brennan cancelled out Niamh Gallogly’s opener before a couple of Kate Slevin points had Galway in control. Meadhbh Byrne hit back before the break and the game opened up on the resumption.

Galway were 0-5 to 0-3 ahead and then 0-6 to 0-4 but Duggan scored two crucial points and even though Slevin did likewise, Meath showed some composure in the closing stages.

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Gallogly got forward to score another fine effort before Duggan looked to have scored the winner. Substitute O’Rourke had other ideas.

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“I see this as a huge learning curve for us. It was a big challenge coming up here to face the All-Ireland champions. We will have learned an awful lot,” said Galway joint-manager Fiona Wynne.

“What we will have learned is how to react and respond in a pressure environment. There was a huge crowd here from Meath. They cheered on every point.

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“It was difficult to hear and difficult to get messages on to the players so to actually experience a game like that will stand to us in the future.”

Scorers – Galway: K Slevin 0-6 (3f), A O’Rourke 0-1 (1f), S Brennan 0-1, E Noone 0-1.

Meath: E Duggan 0-3 (1f), S Grimes 0-2 (2f), N Gallogly 0-2, M Byrne 0-1, C Smyth 0-1.

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GALWAY: A Griffin; K Geraghty, S Ní Loingsigh, E Gavin; C Cooney, L Ward, A Molloy; A Davoren, L Coen; S Brennan, O Divilly, C Miskell; M Glynn, K Slevin, L Noone.

Subs: E Noone for Glynn (ht), H Noone for E Noone (47), J Burke for Brennan (47), A O’Rourke for Miskell (56).

MEATH: M McGuirk; K Newe, MK Lynch, A Sheridan; N Gallogly, S Ennis, A Cleary; M O’Shaughnessy, A Minogue; M Thynne, M Byrne, N O’Sullivan; O Callan, S Grimes, C Smyth.

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Subs: E Duggan for Callan (ht), A Leahy for Smyth (47) A Sherlock for Byrne (47).

Ref – Gavin Finnegan (Down).

See Also: Dublin Edge Seven-Goal Thriller Against Cork

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