A much better performance by Timmy Rabbitte’s senior ladies side ensured Galway overcame Mayo to bring home the Connacht title from the LIT Gaelic grounds last Saturday evening.
Two goals from Tracey Leonard and another from Megan Glynn proved the difference, with Galway winning on a scoreline of 3-7 to 0-9. It was Galway's third Connacht title in a row, and they will now face both Kerry and Westmeath in the All Ireland series.
In front of a huge crowd, Leonard showed her class and proved her importance to her side with a fine individual performance to drive home a well-deserved win for Galway.
"We were 100% better than the drawn game. We are by far not the finished article yet, but we are way better this week. We are up to the pitch of the battle," Rabbitte said.
After a rusty display in the previous drawn game, Rabbitte acknowledged his side stepped up their performance.
"Physically, aggressively, we were way stronger and faster in our thinking. Our skills were way better today. We have loads of work to do, but there was just a way better attitude about us today."
Galway held a four-point lead at the break, 2-3 to 0-5, thanks to a fine save from Lisa Murphy. Mayo enjoyed the better start to the second half, reducing the arrears to two, but Leonard’s second goal killed Mayo’s momentum. Following a mazy run Leonard's shot was brilliantly saved, but following a brief scramble, she kicked to the net after a Mayo defender lost possession again.
Despite Grace Kelly keeping Mayo in touch with a couple of frees, Galway kept possession for the majority of the final 10 minutes while also adding to the scoreboard. Substitute Lucy Hannon put one over before Leonard brought her personal tally to 2-3 with the final score of the game.
Galway: L Murphy; O Murphy, S Lynch, F Cooney; B Hannon, S Burke, C Cooney; L Ward, Á McDonagh; O Divilly, T Leonard (c ), M Glynn; M Seoighe, R Leonard, S Conneally. Subs: N Ward for Lynch (h-t ), L Coen for Conneally (44 ), L Hannon for Glynn (50 ), S Molloy for F Cooney (53 ), O Murphy for Seoighe (58 ).
Mayo: A Tarpey; N O’Malley, R Flynn, D Caldwell; É Ronayne, Ciara McManamon, K Sullivan; Clodagh McManamon, D Finn; R Durkin, S Cafferky, N Kelly (c ); S Rowe, R Kearns, G Kelly. Subs: F Doherty for Durkin (h-t ), E Needham for R Flynn (41 ), L Cafferky for Kearns (45 ), T O’Connor for D Flynn (52 ), C Whyte for Clodagh McManamon (54 ). Referee: John Niland (Sligo ).