Galway’s unbeaten run in this year’s Bord Gais Ladies National Football League came to an end at the hands of favourites Cork in the division one showpiece at Parnell Park on Saturday.
Cork, winning their fifth league crown in five years, produced a second-half scoring burst of 1-4 without reply that proved the difference. Galway, despite finishing top of the table, still search for their first league title.
Cork’s Valerie Mulcahy was in sensational form, hitting 1-6 of their tally, but Galway’s defence ensured other Cork maestros Mairead Kelly and Anne-Marie Walsh failed to get on the scoresheet.
Galway, slow to settle, eventually drew first blood when Fingallians’ Niamh Duggan pointed, but at the other end Mulcahy struck the net on 15 minutes to finish a sublime passing move.
Lorna Joyce, a key figure in Galway teams over the years, posted a sublime score, but once again Mulcahy replied with two more to put Cork 1-4 to 0-2 ahead.
Battling as they have done all year, Galway eventually hit the net when Edel Concannon’s drive just inside the 13-metre line dipped towards goal, eluding Elaine Harte to put Galway right back into the tense contest. As Galway grew in confidence, Aoibheann Daly raced forward to reduce the deficit to a single score at the interval.
The introduction of Dora Gorman and Corofin stalwart Patricia Gleeson started to pay off as Gorman began the second half with a point in reply to a Mulcahy score to keep the gap at one point.
All-Star Una Carroll, just on the pitch, levelled the game and when Duggan also raised the white flag, Galway hit the front. Galway created a glorious opportunity when Sinead Burke and Gorman combined to carve open the Cork rearguard,but Gorman’s low drive from an acute angle flew inches wide of the post.
Cork, however, they upped the tempo with substitute Nollaig Cleary then netting within five minutes. This was followed by scores from Geraldine O’Flynn, Mary O’Connor and a double from Mulcahy. Galway responded with points from Joyce and Catriona Cormican, but Ní Bhuachalla slickly pointed for Cork. Duggan sent over a consolation free for Galway in the dying seconds, but it was not enough to dethrone the All Ireland champs.
Galway: J Connolly; S Noone, A Gilmore, C Cormican (0-1 ); R McPhilbin, E Flaherty, G Conneally; D Lawless (P Gleeson 19mins ), A Daly (0-1 ); L Joyce (0-2 ), E Concannon (1-0 ), S Burke; S Murphy (D Gorman 26mins, 0-1 ), M Coyne (U Carroll 38mins, 0-1 ), N Duggan (0-3, 2 frees )
Cork: E Harte; R Buckley, A Walsh, L Barrett; D O’Reilly, B Stack, G O’Flynn (0-1 ); J Murphy (0-1, free ), N Kelly; N Cleary, C O’Sullivan (O Farmer 41mins ), A-M Walsh (R Ní Bhuachalla 41 mins, 1-1 ); M O’Connor (0-1 ), V Mulcahy (1-6, 2 frees ), M Kelly (C Creedon 50mins ).
Referee: K Tighe (Dublin ).