A storming first half display saw Galway claim their fifth Connacht Ladies Senior Football Championship title in six years in MacHale Park, Castlebar on Sunday. Led by their centre-half forward Tracey Leonard who finished with nine points they saw off Mayo’s challenge with a composed and confident performance.
They hit Mayo hard in the opening stages of the first half and inside the first six minutes they were leading by 2-2 to 0-0 and were well on their way to victory.
Aine McDonagh who came into the starting team for Megan Glynn before throw-in got things moving with a well taken score within seconds of throw in, that was followed up two minutes later by Leonard’s first score of the day. Disaster struck for Mayo from the resulting kick-out with Sarah Conneally getting in the way of an attempted short restart and diverting the ball to the path of Mariead Seoighe who made no mistake from close range.
It got even better for the Tribeswomen a minute later when Niamh Duggan who came on as a temporary sub for Conneally after the first goal, found the back of the net from close range after she was played in by Seoighe, that was followed up by a Leonard free, not long after to put Galway into a 2-3 to 0-0 lead.
Mayo finally got the scoreboard moving for them with a Cora Staunton free ten minutes in, but Seoighe and Leonard tagged on two more points in quick succession to leave Galway ten points clear. Mayo hit the next three points of the game with Staunton landing two frees and Sarah Rowe kicking one from play to cut the gap back to seven.
But Galway weren’t going to let Mayo back into it that easy and Seoighe smashed home her second goal of the game, after showing some blistering footwork to beat two defenders and Leonard added another point - this time from play to send Stephen Glennon’s girls’ in leading by 3-7 to 0-4 at the break.
Staunton kicked the first point of the second half from a placed ball early on, but two Leonard scores kept Galway comfortably in front. Mayo were given a lifeline when Shauna Howley - who game on as a sub at half time fired home a goal for the homeside. Mayo almost bagged another straight away but Fiona Doherty saw her effort come back off the bar.
Staunton kicked two points from frees over the next few minutes to leave the eventual winners leading by 3-9 to 1-7 with 15 minutes left on the clock. Mayo had another goal chance with seven minutes to go when Sarah Rowe was played in by Staunton, but her effort was blocked by Dearbhla Gower in the Galway goal and was tidied up off the line by Aine Seoighe. Galway closed out the game in winning style with Leonard tagging on two more points and Mairead Seoighe also getting in on the act, with Staunton kicking her seventh and final point in between, to see Galway win out by 3-12 to 1-8 at the final whistle.
Mayo: C Staunton (0-7, 6f ), S Howley (1-0 ), S Rowe (0-1 )
Galway: T Leonard (0-9, 7f ), M Seoighe (2-2 ), N Duggan (1-0 ), A McDonagh (0-1 )
Mayo: Y Byrne; O Conlon, S Tierney, M Corbett; R Kearns, M Carther, F Doherty; F McHale, A Gilroy; S Rowe, G Kelly, D Hughes; M McGing, C Staunton, N Gaughan. Subs: S Howley for M McGing, A Dowling for F Doherty, A Duffy for G Kelly
Galway: D Gower; F Cooney, N Connolly, E Flaherty; A Seoige, B Hannon, S Burke; L Gannon, C Cormican; O Divilly, T Leonard, A McDonagh; M Seoighe, S Conneally, R Leonard. Subs: N Duggan for S Conneally (BS ), M Glynn for S Conneally, A Daveron for A McDonagh, S Molloy for O Divilly.
Ref: G Champan (Sligo )