By DARAGH SMALL
Galway manager Tim Rabbitt has urged his players to use the hurt of past defeats to end their silverware drought.
Galway haven’t won the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship since 2004, but they are back in the last four again where they face rivals Mayo, following Saturday’s 1-12 to 2-4 victory over Waterford at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.
Galway will face Connacht rivals Mayo for the third time this year, and Rabbitt knows it will be a huge fixture at Croke Park on 25 August.
“It’s a fantastic occasion for the girls to be getting up to Croke Park,” said Rabbitt.
Galway supporters have been great all year long and we will be asking them to come out. No doubt Mayo will have a big crowd at it. We lost the semi-final last year. We know what that will be like although it will be a unique occasion in Croke Park.
I was with the girls last year when we were beaten so I know what it is like to lose a semi-final as well.
It is a nowhere position because at least if you get to the final you are there on the biggest day of the year. It will be very important we put in a big performance.
Galway had beaten Kerry and Westmeath since their Connacht final victory over Mayo at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
They were expected to negotiate this hurdle too but the rain fell in a deluge in the first half and made it very difficult for the players.
Galway still held a narrow 1-6 to 1-4 lead at half-time. They were 1-4 to 0-2 ahead after Tracey Leonard scored her goal in the 18th minute, but Aileen Wall struck back eight minutes later.
However Waterford were restricted to Wall’s second goal after half-time while Galway hit 0-6 with Sarah Conneally rounding off the scoring.
“I couldn’t take away from us, the amount of heart, the effort, the tracking, hassling and tackling we did,” said Rabbitt.
“We really had to dig in today in these conditions. It wasn’t a day for nice football.
“I would be really proud of the girls.”
Waterford had hammered Monaghan en route to the final but they found reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin too strong in the round robin.
Galway were similarly impressive here and Waterford manager Ciaran Curran believes there was a gulf in class in the second half.
“In the first half we were right in it,” said Curran. “We caused trouble for them going forward and it was a 50-50 game.
“In the second half, in fairness, Galway were the better team. They were deserved winners.
“We didn’t score enough but we didn’t create enough scoring chances.”
Scorers – Galway: T Leonard 1-5 (3f), S Conneally 0-2, R Leonard 0-2, L Ward 0-1, M Glynn 0-1, Á McDonagh 0-1
Waterford: A Wall 2-0, M Delahunty 0-2 (0-1f), M Ryan 0-2
Galway: L Murphy; S Lynch, N Ward, S Burke; O Murphy, B Hannon, C Cooney; L Ward, Á McDonagh; O Divilly, M Glynn, M Seoighe; T Leonard, S Conneally, R Leonard. Subs: L Coen for Glynn (44), M Coyne for Seoighe (53), S Molloy for Lynch (60)
Waterford: R Landers; M Wall, C McGrath, E Murray; Kate McGrath, Karen McGrath, R Tobin; M Ryan, K Hogan; A Wall, K Murray, S Dunphy; E Fennell, C Fennell, M Delahunty. Subs: B Valuntaite for Delahunty (49), L McGregor for Fennell (54)
Ref: Brendan Rice (Down)
Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile