Last year’s defeat will motivate Galway Ladies in All Ireland semi-final

Galway players Sarah Connrally, Charlotte Cooney, Olivia Divilly and Lisa Murphy celebrate after their quarter-final victory over Waterford at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford. 					Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Galway players Sarah Connrally, Charlotte Cooney, Olivia Divilly and Lisa Murphy celebrate after their quarter-final victory over Waterford at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Galway return to Croke Park on August 25 for the semi-finals of the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship, having seen off Waterford by 1-13 to 2-4 at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday.

Now Tim Rabitte's side will face familiar foes when they meet Connacht rivals Mayo for the third time this year in the hopes of winning their first championship crown since 2004.

Rabitte is urging his players to use the hurt of past defeats to end their silverware drought.

“It’s a fantastic occasion for the girls to be getting up to Croke Park,” says Rabbitte."I was with the girls last year when we were beaten, so I know what it is like to lose a semi-final as well."

"It is a nowhere position. At least if you get to the final, you are there on the biggest day of the year, so it will be very important to put in a big performance."

Rabbitte says Galway supporters have been great all year, but the team needs them to make another effort to support them in Croke Park.

"No doubt Mayo will have a big crowd at it. We lost the semi-final last year. We know what that will be like, although it will be a unique occasion in Croke Park."

Since their Connacht final victory over Mayo at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, Galway had beaten Kerry and Westmeath, and were expected to overcome Waterford. However the wet conditions made life difficult for both sides, with Galway edging the opening half by 1-6 to 1-4.

Tracey Leonard put them 1-4 to 0-2 ahead after scoring a goal in the 18th minute, but Aileen Wall struck back eight minutes later.

However Galway hit 0-6 after the break, while Waterford were restricted to Wall’s second goal.

“I couldn’t take away from us the amount of heart, the effort, the tracking, hassling and tackling we did,” said Rabbitte. “We really had to dig in today in these conditions. It wasn’t a day for nice football. I am really proud of the girls.”

Waterford put up a big fight at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, helped by two Aileen Wall goals, but the chances of a free-flowing game were ruined by the torrential rain.

Roisin Leonard opened with a point for Galway in the fourth minute before Waterford replied through Delahunt, who missed a subsequent free. Tracey Leonard kept the scoreboard ticking over, but once again Waterford responded through Michelle Ryan.

However, Galway then enjoyed a purple patch, bagging 1-2, through Megan Glynn and Louise Ward points with Tracey Leonard combining with cousin Roisin and lobbing Waterford goalkeeper Rosie Landers.

Ahead 1-4 to 0-2 in the 18th minute, they were unable to push on as Delahunt provided a rallying score for the south-east side.

Sarah Conneally and Michelle Ryan exchanged points before Waterford put themselves back in contention when Eimear Fennell and fired past Lisa Murphy and into the Galway net.

However, there was no comeback from Waterford after Tracey Leonard scored twice and Áine McDonagh produced a super point. Wall did have a goal chance in the 48th minute but her shot blazed over Lisa Murphy’s head.

Scorers, Galway: T Leonard 1-5 (3f ), S Conneally 0-2, R Leonard 0-2, L Ward 0-1, M Glynn 0-1, Á McDonagh 0-1.

Galway: L Murphy; S Lynch, N Ward, S Burke; O Murphy, B Hannon, C Cooney; L Ward, Á McDonagh; O Divilly, M Glynn, M Seoighe; T Leonard, S Conneally, R Leonard. Subs: L Coen for Glynn (44 ), M Coyne for Seoighe (53 ), S Molloy for Lynch (60 )

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