The Kilkenny bogey continues for Galway. Two points ahead at the end of full time, Galway looked fully deserving of heading into their second successive All Ireland final.
They had done all the hard work, had led at half time, and were clinging on to the lead despite a second-half Kilkenny recovery. Yet in injury time Galway allowed Kilkenny to steal victory when Elaine Aylward intercepted a Galway move. The end result was a goal from sub Marie O'Connor to put Kilkenny a point in front before Katie Power ensured the Cats victory with a point deep into injury time.
It was a hearbtreaking result for Galway who, having beaten all other teams including Wexford and champions Cork in the last two years, cannot seem to overcome the hurdle Kilkenny presents.
The game started at a frantic pace with Galway registering the opening point inside a minute from Aislinn Connolly, but Kilkenny replied a minute late from Katie Power. From here on it looked as though Galway were in cruise control with points from Brenda Hanney and three in succession from Therese Maher.
At this stage it looked to be Galway’s game, and when Jessica Gill sent over a long range score with such ease the tensions were clearly high in the Kilkenny camp as they trailed by 0-6 to 0-2. However, like their hurling counterparts, the resilience in the team shone through when Katie Power, Aoife Neary (free ) and Michelle Quilty scored three points in a row, putting them back into the game.
With 10 minutes remaining in the opening half scores came thick and fast from an Aoife Neary free and two from Galway’s Aislinn Connolly. The Kilkenny goalkeeper Catriona Ryan saved two cracking goal attempts close to the break to keep Kilkenny in contention.
If the first half was exciting, the second half was nailbiting. Kilkenny had Galway's back line under pressure as they made the most of the wind. However, Galway were first off the mark with Brenda Hanney, but Kilkenny replied with an Aoife Neary free.
With Kilkenny two points down going into injury time, the moment of glory came when Elaine Aylward intercepted a Galway move. It spelled the end of Galway’s realistic hopes, and the first All Ireland final in eight years for Kilkenny. They will face Cork who overcome Wexford 2-13 to 1-10.
Galway: S Earner, R Glynn, A Kelly, T Manton, AM Hayes, S Cahalan, N Kilkenny, S Tannion, L Ryan, B Hanney, T Maher, J Gill, V Curtin, O Kilkenny, A Connolly. Sub used: Glodagh Glynn. Scorers for Galway: O Kilkenny 1-0, T Maher and A Connolly (0-2 frees ) 0-3 each, V Curtin and B Hanney 0-2 each, J Gill 0-1.