All Ireland final remains the target for Murray

Galway's Niamh McGrath wins possesion ahead of Michaela Kenneally of Kilkenny during the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division one final at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Madheach/Sportsfile

Galway's Niamh McGrath wins possesion ahead of Michaela Kenneally of Kilkenny during the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division one final at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Madheach/Sportsfile

Cathal Murray's target remains this year's All Ireland final, and the Galway camogie manager is not worried after two successive final defeats to the Cats.

Galway lost last years' All Ireland by three points before a similar margin saw them fall to the Cats in last weekend's National League decider. However Murray says the goal remains the same.

“There were plenty of times when Galway weren’t getting to these finals. It is our goal to be in the All-Ireland final again here in September,” he says.

"Kilkenny lost two finals in a row and then won last year’s All-Ireland. I’d be more concerned if we weren’t getting to finals."

Despite losing to Kilkenny by 1-18 to 1-15 in Sunday's final, Murray was proud of his players.

“We were really disappointed at our performance last December, but we got a performance tonight. We created two or three good goal opportunities, but we didn’t take them. But saying that, Kilkenny deserved to win it at the end of the day."

Murray says the league final was a good platform for the championship ahead.

"Obviously we are very disappointed, but we are two months away from an All-Ireland final and we want to come back out here again. We have loads of areas to improve on, but we are really proud of the players and that’s the bottom line. They put in a huge shift and we were the team that was driving on and were unlucky we didn’t get the breaks in the last few minutes."

Murray says the biggest learning is Galway's need to take their chances.

"If you create three or four goal chances against Kilkenny, you need to take them. If you don’t, you’re not going to win the match.

"We were disappointed with the goal we gave away as well, but there was only a point in that game going into injury time, and it was unfortunate Kilkenny got the two late points, so we’re really proud of the players. It was a great game and a great advertisement for camogie.”

Galway's Carrie Dolan set the tone when opening the scoring in the fifth minute, and they continued to have the edge when they led at the water break. Dolan added another free when Grace Walsh floored the marauding Finnerty, but two Denise Gaule frees levelled matters before Niamh McGrath scored from 30 metres.

Galway were four head by the 29th minute, but Michaela Kennealy reduced the deficit to three before half-time.

However, it was the Cats who grabbed the initiative after the break - Mary O’Connell reducing the deficit before Aoife Doyle blasted to the corner of the net to put the Cats ahead.

As Galway struggled, the Cats went five clear, but when Niamh Kilkenny broke through several challengers and held her composure to fire to the net after 40 minutes, there was real hope for Galway's cause.

However, the Cats never lost their lead despite Galway narrowing the gap to just one. Siobhan McGrath could have goaled for Galway, but her shot was well blocked by Norris, and instead Niamh Deely replied for Kilkenny. Niamh Kilkenny cut inside to score after 57minutes, and in the closing minutes Galway applied pressure which paid off when Aoife Donohue equalised in the 61st minute.

However, that was as good as it got as Steffi Fitzgerald, Gaule and O’Connell added to the tally and a Kilkenny victory.

SCORERS - KILKENNY : D Gaule 0-6(5fs ); A Doyle 1-2; K Nolan, M O’Connell 0-3; G Walsh, N Deely, M Kenneally, S Fitzgerald 0-1 each. GALWAY: C Dolan 0-10(8fs ); N Kilkenny 1-1; A Donohue 0-2; N McGrath, S McGrath 0-1 each

GALWAY: Sarah Healy, T Kenny, S Dervan, Shauna Healy, S Gardiner, E Helebert, R Black, N McGrath, N Kilkenny, C Dolan, C Finnerty, S Spellman, A O’Reilly, A Donohoe, S McGrath. Subs: D Higgins for Kenny (37 ), C Cormican for Helebert (42 ), A M Starr for Finnerty (46 ), N Hanniffy for O’Reilly (54 )

KILKENNY: A Norris, C Dormer, D Tobin, M Teehan, K Doyle, M Farrell, G Walsh, A Prendergast, N Deely, D Gaule, M Kenneally, M O’Connell, A Doyle, M Walsh, K Nolan. Subs: L Murphy for Prendergast (37 ), S Fitzgerald for M Walsh (48 ), K Power for Kenneally (51 ), M Bambrick for K Doyle (59 )

REFEREE : Justin Heffernan (Wexford )


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