Minor crown slips as Galway make final

Goal scorer Emma Shortall

Wall turns attention to Leinster title

Kilkenny 2-3 Galway 0-14

By Martin Quilty

Kilkenny will have to wait another while to make it back-to-back All-Ireland titles since the early 2000’s, as Galway defeated the stripey women in last Sunday’s semi-final with a five point victory in Edenderry. It was a repeat of last year’s game as the teams did battle for a place in the All-Ireland final.

It was Galway who struck first with a point from play from Catherine Hanley. Kilkenny were sluggish for the first few minutes of the game, they came to life in the 7th minute when Emma Shortall got in for Kilkenny’s first goal.

After a scramble for possession in around the large square the ball fell to Shortall who shot a low stroke into the back of the Galway net. This was quicky followed up by the kittens second goal. Good work from the Kilkenny defence saw captain Amy Clifford receive the ball, she gave a pin perfect pass into Amy Brennan who hit a bullet of a shot passed the helpless Laura Freeney in the Galway goal. Kilkenny were now on a roll and at this point Galway supporters must have been wondering what was happening. Things got almost worse for the tribeswomen when Amy Clifford found herself one-on-one with Freeney but her shot was magnificently saved to keep Galway in the game.

By the first quarter Kilkenny had a sizeable lead 2-0 to 0-1 and things were looking good for the stripey women who had the help of the elements in the first half.

In the 19th minute Emma Shortall put over a lovely point from play to extend the lead to six points. Galway were been outplayed and didn’t know how to get back into the game, but things were about to change. Galway were awarded a 20m free but a serious injury to Shannon Corcoran saw a lengthy delay to allow the player receive treatment. This would prove detrimental to the Kilkenny girls.

Galway brought on Aoibheann Barry and she turned the game on its head. The Westerners then rattled over six points without reply, Niamh McInerney, Alannah Fahy, Aoibheann Barry and Catherine Hanley saw the team’s level by the 30th minute. Kilkenny would get the last point of the half when Emma Manogue scored a point from play to leave the reigning champions a point ahead at the break 2-2 to 0-7.

It was a disappointing half for the Champions as they had enough possession in the attacking third, but Kilkenny failed to convert those chances. Kilkenny needed to start the second half like they did with the first but that plan went right out the window. Galway were on fire they rattle off four points in a row Aoibheann Barry (3) and Alannah Fahy now had Galway in front 0-11 to 2-2.

It took Kilkenny thirteen minutes to register their first point of the second half, a point from an Amy Clifford free. Mike Wall’s side were in serious trouble, Galway played with style and flair and they played for each other as a team. Kilkenny backs were under severe pressure from wave after wave of Galway Attack, but to their credit Galway never really threatened the Kilkenny goal.

After Clifford’s free Galway then got three further points and by the third quarter were ahead 0-14 to 2-3.

For all their dominance, Kilkenny were still in the game to a degree and things got worrying for Galway as they had Olwen Rabbitte sent off for two yellow cards, but for the remainder of the game it was like Kilkenny were down to 14 players, that was how dominant Galway were. Kilkenny kept plugging away and they never game up and battled right to the very end. Galway wanted the win more – they had a hunger.

Some tactical and sometimes cynical fouling by the Galway defence in the second half appeared to be the tactic used to stop Kilkenny getting further goals, and this led to no scores being registered in the last ten minutes of the game. It was heartbreak for Kilkenny who had gone into the semi-final undefeated and perhaps Galway’s extra games going into the Semi-Final gave them the edge and a sharpness that you only get from competitive games, but at the end of the day when you only score one point in thirty plus minutes of play in a semi-final, you’re going to struggle to come out on the right side of the result.

It’s very hard to do back-to-back All-Ireland finals at minor level. The girls will now prepare for the Leinster Championship that begins in April.

Final score in the All-Ireland Semi-Final, Kilkenny 2-3, Galway 0-14

Scorers –
Kilkenny: Emma Shortall 1-1, Amy Brennan 1-0, Emma Manogue, Amy Clifford 0-1 each
Galway: Catherine Hanley 0-4 (4f), Aoibheann Barry 0-4, Niamh McInerney 0-3, Alannah Fahy 0-2, Ciara Hickey 0-1
Kilkenny: Ruth Phelan, Nathania Jackson, Moya O’Brien, Laoise Nolan, Katie Byrne,
Emma Manogue, Rachel Brennan, Claire Doheny, Aine Rohan, Ellen Gunner, Amy Clifford, Amy Brennan, Emma Shortall, Sofia Kerr, Emma Mulhall
Subs: Sarah Hudson for Rohan, Lauren Ronan for Mulhall

Galway: Laura Freeney, Hayley Kenny, Jacqueline Glynn, Ava Crowe, Reitseal Kelly, Ally Hesnan, Keisha Coleman, Megan Gannon, Ciara Hickey, Niamh McInerney, Olwen Rabbitte, Aisling Dillon, Catherine Hanley, Alannah Fahy, Shannon Corcoran
Subs: Aoibheann Barry for Corcoran, Tara Maher for Glynn, Aoibhe Carr for Hickey, Orla Mullins for Fahy, Molly Mulryan for Dillon
Referee: Andy Larkin (Cork)

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