Galway’s senior ladies footballers return to action this weekend in search of a place in this year’s All Ireland semi-finals.
The Connacht champions will face Monaghan in Saturday’s quarter-final which takes place in Ballymahon, Co Longford (6pm ). Mayo will take on Tyrone in the first of a double header at 4.15pm.
Galway enter the championship in confident form, having ousted Mayo in the provincial decider for the first time in three years. However manager Gay O’Brien will not be taking Monaghan for granted.
Last year’s All Ireland finalists received something of a shock defeat at the hands of Tyrone in the Ulster final, but as expected they rallied to overcome Down in the qualifier series. They showed their pedigree in that 13-point victory over Down on a scoreline of 0 - 22 to 0 - 9 with Edel Byrne and Catriona McConnell their leading points scorers.
These two outfits both met in the Bord Gais Energy Ladies Gaelic Football League earlier in the year when Galway were pipped in a tight game by 1 - 8 to 0 - 12. On that occasion Monaghan showed their determination to claw back Galway’s early lead, and while they were content to tag on points, Galway’s decision to go for goals proved costly.
Galway certainly have accurate forwards on which they can rely, and all six contributed to their 3 - 17 to 2 - 8 victory over Mayo. Una Carroll and Anne Marie McDonagh were the scoring aces on that occasion, but Lorna Joyce, Sinead Burke, Edel Concannon, and Ger Connelly, are all capable of posting scores when necessary. Led by the hardworking Eimear Flaherty at the back, Galway are an experienced side who will not want to be bullied by Monaghan on Saturday. Their biggest concern is a doubt over Carroll, who would be a major loss if unavailable.
Although Galway’s star has waned over the last few years since making the breakthrough in 2004, their victory over Mayo has given them renewed confidence, but they will be up against it on Saturday.
The county’s juniors also found it tough going against Cork in the Aisling McGing All-Ireland semi-final in Fermoy on Sunday, going down by 3 - 13 to 3 - 6.
Amid great expectations, the Galway juniors started brightly and were 1 - 1 up within five minutes after Mairead Kyne broke the cover and rifled the ball to the net. However it was shortlived when Cork’s Katie Sheehan found the net twice.
However Galway did not give up and with the last play of the first half Mairead Kyne scored her second goal to leave the teams level at 2-4 at the break.
Cork upped the pace and posted some fine points, while Galway found a perfect goal shot was blocked by the Cork goalie Martina O'Brien. She palmed the ball to the in-rushing Mairead Kyne who in turn vollied to the net, but on this occasion the referee deemed it a square ball,. Despite this setback Galway pushed on and Kyne was rewarded with her third goal. Although Gillian O'Connor added a point, Cork tagged on two more points to leave the final score Cork 2-13 to Galway 3-6.