Unbeaten Galway ladies advance to league final

Galway will meet Cork in the Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League division one final on May 8 thanks to a gusty second-half display against Laois at Kiltoom on Sunday.

In a tight first half both sides battled hard with the Galway backline putting in a tireless effort to keep Laois maestros Noirin Kirwan and Martina Dunne at bay. In midfield Laois Tracey Lawlor was on top of her game, which kept Deirdre Lawless and Aoibheann Daly busy throughout. Kirwan led the attack with four points for Laois, while Lawlor scored two points and Martina Dunne one to give their side a narrow 0-7 to 0-6 half time lead.

Galway, however, were always in contention with Niam Duggan hitting four of Galway’s scores (three from frees ) and the others coming from Daly and Mairead Coyne. Galway could have gone ahead before the half-time whistle, but Edel Concannon’s rasping drive rebounded off the crossbar.

However Galway turned it around in the second half. Kirwan was kept virtually anonymous and the substitutions made by the management team turned the game on its head. Una Carroll, Patricia Gleeson and Dora Gorman were introduced and Galway came to life.

Two early Lawlor points for Laois were answered by another double of frees from Duggan – until Galway found that crucial goal on 46 minutes to spring into the lead.

Sinead Burke went on a dashing run and her pace was simply too much for the Laois backline. Concannon collected the ball while darting through on goal and smashed it into the top corner.

Concannon and Carroll followed up with points to extend the lead to three, and when Loran Joyce pounced on a loose ball and hit the net, Galway looked set to advance to their third final in six seasons.

Duggan bagged her eighth point with another free, but Laois were handed a lifeline when Tracey Lawlor was fouled in the square. Noirin Kirwan converted, and although they added another late point from Lawlor, it was not enough to end Galway’s undefeated run in the league.

Galway: J Connolly; S Noone, A Gilmore, C Cormican; R McPhilbin, E Flaherty, G Conneally; D Lalwess (P Gleeson 37 mins ), A Daly (0-1 ); L Joyce (1-0 ), E Concannon (1-0 ), S Burke; S Murphy (U Carroll 48 mins 0-1 ), M Coyne (0-1 ) (D Gorman 41mins ), N Duggan (0-8 ).

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