Galway advance to ladies’ semi-final after tough battle with Monaghan

Galway have three weeks to prepare for this year’s TG4 All Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship semi-final after delivering another winning display last weekend over Monghan.

Rabbitt’s charges now face Cork on Sunday December 6 - postponed by a week to accommodate camogie fixtures - at the LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick (1.30pm ).

It comes after a final round game against Monaghan that went to the wire before Galway eventually prevailed to top their group.

The game in Leitrim will stand to Tim Rabbitt’s side as they bump up their preparations in a bid to go one better than last year when they lost to Dublin in the All Ireland final. And they certainly showed great character last weekend. Not only were they reduced to 14 players before the break, but they had to withstand a late onslaught from Monaghan who struck three goals in the final quarter before prevailing by 2-13 to 3-9 at Pairc Sean MacDiarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon.

“A rollercoaster of a game,” said Rabbitt - “Very proud of the girls’ performance. Monaghan are a really good team. The game could have gone away from us at different times. Pure pride in how hard they battled.”

With both sides having won their opening round fixtures against Tipperary, victory was essential to qualify directly into the semi-final, and Tim Rabbitt’s side looked to have the game wrapped up in the final quarter.

They had also started brighty with Tracey Leonard (free ), Olivia Divilly and Louise Ward putting Galway into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead, before Ellen McCarron, who tallied 2-7, and Cora Courtney levelled the match by the 10th minute.

Divilly and Leonard (free ) exchanged points with McCarron and Rosemary Courtney before Monaghan edged in front for the first time after the first-half water break through another McCarron point. However, Galway produced five unanswered points from Divilly (2 ), Leonard and Ailbhe Davoren for a 0-10 to 0-6 lead.

However Galway went into the second half reduced to 14 players after Fabienne Cooney was dismissed by referee Mel Kenny following an altercation with Monaghan’s Muireann Atkinson just before the break.

It did not stop Galway’s rhythym as they went ahead 1-11 to 0-7, captain Nicola Ward adding a goal. When Lucy Hannon extended their lead shortly afterwards, it appeared as if Galway would easily wrap up the contest. However, Monaghan never gave up. They bagged three goals, but on each occasion Galway replied - the most crucial was a goal from Lynsey Noone on 56 minutes.It was enough to prevail in what was a real test of Galway’s credentials.

Scorers: Galway: O Divilly 0-5 (1f ), T Leonard 0-5 (4f ), L Ward 1-1, L Noone 1-0, A Davoren 0-1, L Hannon 0-1.Monaghan: E McCarron 2-7 (2f ), T McNally-Scott 1-0, R Courtney 0-1, C Courtney 0-1.

Galway: L Murphy; F Cooney, S Lynch, S Burke; L Coen, C Cooney, N Ward, A Davoren; M Seoighe, O Divilly, M Glynn; L Noone, T Leonard, L Hannon. Subs: S Molloy for Seoighe (43 ),A Trill for Davoren (50 ), C Miskell for Noone (59 ).

Monaghan: E Corrigan; A Newell, J Duffy, A McAnespie; L. Garland, A McCarey, N Fahy; R Courtney, E McAnespie; S Coyle, E McCarron, L McEnaney; M Atkinson, L Kerley, C. Courtney. Subs: T McNally-Scott for McCarey (h-t ), C McAnespie for Kerley (34 ), J Drury for C McAnespie for (35 ), A Garland for L Garland (50 ), C Treanor for Coyle (54 ).

Referee: Mel Kenny (Mayo ).


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