By Tomás Keating
Newcomers Waterford proved that goals do win games as they held out to earn a memorable one-point Lidl National Football League Division 1 victory over Galway in Corofin on Sunday afternoon.
Four of those goals came in the first half, and proved the difference in the end as Galway's powerful finish, inspired by the excellent Tracey Leonard, fell just short.
The Murray triples produced four of the goals for Waterford.
There were no signs of nervousness from the Déise side in their first year back in Division 1, as they led 2-00 to 0-01 after six minutes of play.
The opening goal came in the first minute as Róisín Tobin won Dearbhla Gower’s kickout, seared down to right wing and drilled it across to Emma Murphy, who hit the net.
Galway replied with a point from Fabienne Cooney, but Waterford soon struck their second through Tobin after she received a pass from Liz Divine.
However, a minute later Galway rallied back when Róisín Leonard drove in a beautiful ball to the near post that was met by Ailish Morrissey, who struck to make it 2-00 to 1-01 after seven minutes on the clock.
Nevertheless, Waterford weren’t deterred, and on the 26th minute, Aileen Wall charged down the left wing and passed it to Katie Murray who palmed to the net.
Three minutes later the goals continued to flow freely. Wall again laid on a goal for Murray, which ensured that Waterford would go in 4-03 to 1-06 ahead at the interval.
Ciarán Curran’s charges showed no let-up coming out of the dressing room, as Aoife Murray finished off a rebound from her sister Katie to put Waterford 5-03 to 1-06.
This meant the Murray triplets had all scored a goal.
However, Tim Rabbitte’s side showed why they are one of the top teams in the country, as they rattled off seven unanswered points in the final quarter.
Tracey Leonard registered six of them and Olivia Divilly chipped-in with the other to get them to within a point, as the game edged into injury-time.
Nevertheless, Chloe Fennell’s point proved to be crucial as the Déise held out to get their Division 1 League campaign off to a dream start.
Waterford: R Landers; M Dunford, R Dunphy, R Casey; M Wall, C McGrath, M Ryan; E Murray (1-00), C Fennell (0-02 (1f)); R Tobin (1-00), A Baumann, A Wall; K Murray (2-02), L Devine, A Murray (1-00).
Subs: C McCarthy for Ryan (50), A Dalton for Tobin (53).
Galway: D Gower; S Lynch, N Connolly, S Molloy; Chloe Crowe, C Cooney, F Cooney (0-01); A Davoren, O Divilly (0-01); R Ní Fhlatharta, T Leonard (0-09, 7f), A Trill (0-02); L Hannon (0-01), R Leonard (0-01f), A Morrissey (1-00).
Subs: L Coen for Ní Fhlatharta (29), L Noone for Davoren (39), S Conneally for Morrissey (39), A Molloy for Connolly (41), C Miskell for Hannon (46), Chelsie Crowe for Chloe Crowe (54).