GALWAY 0-17 MONAGHAN 0-14
Galway edged Monaghan, 0-17 to 0-14, in a cracker at St Brendan’s Park in Birr to reach the last four of the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship.
A spirited second-half display was good enough for the Connacht champions as they knocked out last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists.
Ten different Galway players were on the score sheet but it was the Farney girls who started brightly when Ciara McAnespie split the posts after 25 seconds to mark their early intent, before Barbara Hannon squared the game with a well-taken Galway score.
Therese McNally-Scott and Cathriona McConnell then gave the Ulster champions a two-point cushion, before they were controversially awarded a penalty on seven minutes when Noelle Connolly was judged to have foot-blocked a shot from McConnell.
Galway will feel justice was done when Monaghan keeper Linda Martin’s low kick sailed wide to the left of the posts, missing out on a golden chance to go five ahead early on.
Caitriona Cormican and Ellen McCarron swapped scores before Niamh Kindlon restored Monaghan’s two-point advantage.
However, a Galway purple patch saw Kevin Reidy’s charges turn the game on its head in the space of five minutes, with Louise Ward, Lorna Joyce, Geraldine Conneally, and Lucy Hannon putting Galway 0-06 to 0-05 ahead.
Both sides were then reduced to 14 players in the space of two minutes, with Monaghan’s Cora Courtney sent off for charging on Nicola Ward and Geraldine Conneally soon joined her for her heavy challenge on McNally-Scott.
Kindlon levelled the game at 0-06 each for her second score of the afternoon but Galway stalwart Annette Clarke ensured the Connacht champions held a slender 0-07 to 0-06 advantage when she sailed over a late free.
A pulsating second half saw Galway suffer a huge blow early on as skipper Sinead Burke limped off with an ankle problem, as Monaghan introduced All Star Caoimhe Mohan, who made an immediate impact on her return from New York.
Mohan’s double and a score from McNally-Scott gave Monaghan the edge once more before Clarke and McConnell swapped scores from frees to see the game level once again at 0-10 apiece.
The game was now end-to-end as Mohan and McConnell’s latest placed balls gave beaten Ulster finalists Monaghan a two-point edge once again.
But Galway again came back at John Morrison’s side to hit the front once more thanks to Aoibheann Daly, Cormican and a double from Olivia Divilly.
Ellen McCarron kept Monaghan in touch but Galway had enough in the tank to get over the line and kill Monaghan’s momentum, with Tracey Leonard’s point and Clarke’s free enough to seal a three-point win.
Scorers for Galway: A Clarke 0-4 (3f), B Hannon 0-3, C Cormican, Olivia Divilly 0-2 each, G Conneally, L Ward, L Joyce, A Daly, L Hannon, T Leonard 0-1 each.
Scorers for Monaghan: E McCarron, C Mohan, C McConnell (2f) 0-3 each, T McNally-Scott, N Kindlon 0-2 each, C McAnespie 0-1.
Galway: J Connolly; N Connolly, M Coyne, O Dixon; N Ward, E Flaherty, S Burke; A Clarke, G Conneally; L Hannon, C Cormican, L Ward; A Daly, L Joyce, B Hannon. Subs: S Egan for Burke (33), O Divilly for L Hannon (37), T Leonard for Joyce (45).
Monaghan: L Martin; J Geoghegan, Y Connell, C Reilly; G McNally, S Courtney, A McAnespie; A Casey, N Fahey; C Courtney, E McCarron, T McNally-Scott; C McConnell, N Kindlon, C McAnespie. Subs: C Mohan for Kindlon (31), M Atkinson for Geoghegan (39), E O’Rourke for A McAnespie (50).
Referee: M Doherty (Wexford)