Stakes rise for Galway ladies

Unbeaten Galway Senior Ladies take on Laois in the Bord Gais Energy National League semi-final on Sunday in Kiltoom (3.30pm ).

The match represents a golden opportunity for Galway to reach their first league final since being beaten by Mayo in 2007.

However Galway are expecting a tough challenge. Although the Tribeswomen claimed the top spot from the qualifiers, Laois are formidable opponents. They will travel to Kiltoom looking to avenge their defeat at the hands of Galway in Ballinasloe in the qualifying series. On that occasion Galway just edged the contest, finishing 2-12 to 2-11 winners and Laois will feel they left the points behind as Galway fought back from behind to score a late point to win the game.

The management team of Gay O'Brien, Nigel Concannon, Donie O'Keefe and Breda Molloy have a large panel of players from which to select. Throughout the campaign Galway have intoduced new players Deirdre Lawless, Mairead Coyne, Julie- Ann Russell, Emma Curley, Dora Gorman, Noelle Connolly and Gillian O'Connor to the senior squad and all have put down markers for the future. Aine Gilmore, who has been away in Chad, and Niamh Duggan, are also back, and with Johanna Connolly, Tina Hughes. Sarah Noone, Una Carroll, Catriona Cormican, Sarah Conneally, Rebecca Mc Philbin, Patricia Gleeson, Emer Flaherty (captain ),Claire Hehir, Ger Conneally, Niamh Lohan, Aoibheann Daly, Lorna Joyce, Edel Concannon, Sinead Burke, Sarah Murphy, Meadhbh Maloney, Kara Mullins, Becky Walsh, Maria Connell, Aisling Donnelly and Aine Seoighe, the management has the luxury of a strong panel.

This is a double header with the division three semi final game at 2pm featuring Waterford v Fermanagh, and Galway are hoping this fixture will attract a large crowd to Kiltoom, which lies between Roscommon and Athlone. A win would represent a huge boost for the senior game in Galway, advancing a final against the winners of Cork v Monaghan.

It has been a great month so far for the JFC-sponsored Galway Ladies. Gay O'Brien, the senior manager, was awarded manager of the month for March, the minors won the first round of the championship against Mayo, the Euro Spar-sponsored u-14 team won all three Connacht championship games against Sligo, Mayo and Leitrim. Now it is the turn of the seniors to attempt to reach their first league final in three years.

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