Galway Ladies remain unbeaten after bagging their third win in division one of the National Football League, but now face arch rivals Mayo at McHale Park on Saturday (5pm ).
Tim Rabbitte's ladies, more settled than their Mayo counterparts, will be favourites heading into this fixture. Peter Leahy's Mayo, with a host of changes from last season due to the absence of Carnacon players, were 1-17 to 3-9 losers against Dublin last weekend. However, they will view Saturday's Connacht derby as another chance to develop, with the main prize the Connacht final later in the season.
The continuity within the Galway management with Rabbitte taking over from Stephen Glennon is reaping its rewards, and goals from Roisin Leonard, Tracey Leonard and Aoife Thompson ensured a 3-11 to 2-5 victory over Wesstmeath at Clonberne.
Goals from Anna Jones and Annie Dolan gave Westmeath some hope, but the home side dominated this contest.
“It was a super first half from us. I thought we were excellent,” said Galway manager Tim Rabbitte.
“This time of year we are looking for hard work, attitude and honesty and we showed that from the off. Left a lot of scores after us but that’s what we are working on in the training ground, we are delighted to come away with the win.”
With Roisin and Tracey Leonard hitting the net before the break, Galway were in total control as they held a 2-7 to 0-1 head at half-time, but Westmeath improved somewhat after the restart.
With 14 minutes remaining an Anna Jones goal gave Westmeath some solace, while Annie Dolan added a second, but there was no beating Galway.
It had taken only 14 seconds from the throw-in for Galway to score when a move involving Aine McDonagh and Louise Ward was finished by Roisin Leonard.
Westmeath responded with a Leanne Slevin free, but two points from Olivia Divilly and one from Roisin Leonard had Galway in a commanding 1-3 to 0-1 lead after 10 minutes.
Despite being reduced to 14 players when Aine McDonagh picked up a yellow card on 13 minutes, Galway added scores from the ever-dangerous Roisin Leonard and a free from Tracy Leonard to leave them leading 1-5 to 0-1 after 20 minutes.
When Roisin Leonard was forced off with a leg injury after 28 minutes, replacement Lucy Hannon combined with Sarah Conneally to set up Tracy Leonard for Galway’s second goal just before the interval.
Westmeath who started the brighter in the second half with points from Lucy McCartan and Leanne Slevin. But half-time substitute Aoife Thompson fired Galway’s third goal to put them 15 points clear.
Westmeath then gave themselves a lifeline with Jones and Dolan on target for two superb goals within a minute, but that was as good as it got after Galway goalkeeper Roisin Ni Chonghaile denied Jess Hennessy and Jones.
Scorers: Galway: T Leonard 1-3 (1f ), R Leonard 1-3, O Divilly 0-3, A Thompson 1-0, L Hannon 0-1, R Ni Fhlatharta 0-1.
Galway : R Ni Chonghaile; M Coyne, S Lynch, F Cooney; S Molloy, L Ward, C Cooney; O Divilly, B Hannon; M Seoighe, T Leonard (capt. ), L Coen; A McDonagh, R Leonard, S Conneally. Subs: L Hannon for R Leonard (28 ), R Ni Fhlatharta for A McDonagh (h-t ), A Thompson for S Conneally (h-t ), L Gannon for B Hannon (h-t ), N Daly for S Molloy (37 ), A Coen for L Ward (41 ), L Noone for T Leonard (50 ), G Conneally for M Seoighe (59 ), O Murphy for F Cooney (59 ), C McCarthy for L Coen (59 ).