Galway Ladies will be keen to take the points on Sunday against Westmeath (Pearse Stadium 2pm ) after falling to neighbours Mayo by a single point in McHale Park.
An unanswered 1-4 in the closing five minutes saw Mayo claim the bragging rights over Galway in this Lidl National League Division 1 derby, winning 2-15 to 2-14.
Mayo’s second goal from a Rachel Kearns' 55th minute penalty re-ignited her side’s challenge and when Kearns and substitute Deirdre Doherty kicked two frees in the final minute, they overturned an earlier six-point deficit to secure a dramatic victory.
Mayo, boasted by the return of Fiona McHale and the Carnacon contingent to the squad, had made the better start in the contest, with Maria Reilly netting the opening goal on seven minutes. The score gave Mayo a 1-2 to 0-1 lead. In the opening quarter, Kearns (free ), Tamara O’Connor and Sinead Cafferkey were also on the scoresheet, while Galway kept in touch with points from Claregalway duo Andrea Trill and Megan Glynn.
Galway, however, began to find their feet in the second quarter and in the next 10 minutes they outscored Mayo five points to two. The experienced Mairéad Seoighe grabbed – three from frees – while Nicola Ward scored the other after Charlotte Cooney stole a Mayo kickout.
Mayo finished the first half stronger with centre-half forward Shauna Howley kicking their last three points, two from play to help her side to a 1-8 to 0-7 at the break.
A blistering third quarter, in which Galway struck for 2-4 without reply, saw Gerry Fahy’s charges race into a 2-13 to 1-10 lead by the 46th minute, with Kate Slevin shooting the Tribeswomen’s two goals. The first was a superbly taken penalty on 39 minutes followed by a fisted effort from play seven minutes later. Also to the fore was Seoighe, who captaining the side, kicked seven points in all and looked set to guide Galway to an opening day win.
However, Mayo, helped by the introduction of Grace Kelly, rallied in the final 10 minutes and, with Kearns leading the charge, secured new manager Michael Moyles his first victory.
Scorers: Mayo: S Howley 0-6 (2f ), R Kearns 1-3 (1-0 penalty, 0-2 frees ), M Reilly 1-0, T O’Connor 0-1, M McHale 0-1, S Cafferkey 0-1, F McHale 0-1, G Kelly 0-1, D Doherty 0-1 (1f ). Galway: M Seoighe 0-7 (3f ), K Slevin 2-1 (1-0 penalty ), A Trill 0-3 (1f ), M Glynn 0-1, N Ward 0-1, E Noone 0-1.
MAYO: L Brennan; O Conlon, K Sullivan, T O’Connor; E Ronayne, C McManamon, E Brennan; F McHale, M McHale; N Kelly, S Howley S Cafferkey; M Reilly, R Kearns, L Cafferkey.Subs: C Needham for Reilly (37 ), D Doherty for M McHale (43 ), G Kelly for S Cafferkey (44 ), C Whyte for O’Connor (51 ), A Lambert for Howley (57 ).
GALWAY: D Gower; S Brennan, S Lynch, S Molloy; K Geraghty, N Ward, C Cooney; A Davoren, M Glynn; O Divilly, M Seoighe, L Coen; E Noone, A Trill, K Slevin.Subs: S. Divilly for Davoren (h-t ), J Burke for Molloy (37 ), A Morrissey for Coen (45 ), A McDonagh for Noone (46 ), C Crowe for Burke (57 ).Ref – Siobhan Coyle (Donegal ).