Ladies must go again

Galway's Roisin Leonard in action against Danielle Coldwell of Mayo during the 2019 TG4 Connacht Ladies Senior Football final at Elvery's MacHale Park in Castlebar, Mayo. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile.

Galway's Roisin Leonard in action against Danielle Coldwell of Mayo during the 2019 TG4 Connacht Ladies Senior Football final at Elvery's MacHale Park in Castlebar, Mayo. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile.

Galway and Mayo must go again after a pulsating battle ended in a draw last Sunday evening in Castlebar.

A late free from captain Tracey Leonard spared the blushes of her side after surrendering a four-point half time lead. Second half goals from Rachel Kearns, Eilish Ronayne and Grace Kelly turned the game in the Mayo side's favour before their joy was cut short by Leonard.

An early Louise Ward goal put the defending champions in control early on and a yellow card to Mayo wing back Ciara Whyte allowed Galway to gain a five-point lead. Mayo powered back and kept Galway scoreless for the next 15 minutes to leave the scores 1-6 to 0-5 at the break.

Two goals in the space of 60 seconds at the start of the second half brought Peter Leahy’s side right back into the game. Firstly, Kearns fired home after a fine run from Kathryn Sullivan before Ronayne got on the end of a Grace Kelly effort that dropped short.

Galway responded with three points of their own before conceding a penalty. Substitute keeper Dearbhla Gower saved Sarah Rowe’s effort but five minutes later the red and green scored their third major of the game thanks to an exceptional individual effort from Kelly. This left the home side 3-6 to 1-11 ahead with 10 minutes to go.

A red card to Mayo’s captain Niamh Kelly gave Galway boost but unfortunately for Timmy Rabbitte's side all they could muster was an equalising score from the ever-reliable boot of Tracey Leonard.

A seven week break since the league final will have been a factor in Galway’s performance, but they will be delighted to have a second bite at the cherry. The replay has been fixed for Sunday July 7 when Galway must hope to regain their league form if they are to stand a chance of retaining the title.

Galway: L Murphy, S Molloy, S Lynch, F Cooney, B Hannon, S Burke, C Cooney, L Ward, A McDonagh, O Divilly, T Leonard, M Glynn, L Coen, R Leonard, S Conneally.

Subs: M Seoighe for Coen (41 ), D Gower for Conneally (43 ), O Murphy for Hannon (50 ), N Ward for Cooney (51 ), S Conneally for Murphy (53 )

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