Galway suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of undefeated Monaghan at Mountbellew on Sunday, denting their hopes of reaching the National League semi-finals.
Despite an encouraging first-half performance, the Farney County’s forward duo of Caitriona McConnell and Ciara McAnespie ran riot for the visitors, hitting all but two of their scores.
Galway, who were still without Caitriona Cormican who remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, Una Carroll who is recovering from an ankle operation, and Dora Gorman who was on international soccer duty, were handed a boost with the return of influential midfielder Patricia Gleeson making her first competitive appearance of 2011 from the bench.
In difficult, windy conditions, scores from Barbara Hannon, Tracey Leonard, Lorna Joyce, Sarah Murphy and Edel Concanon, ensured Galway were level with the league leaders as the half time approached.
However a scoring burst from Monaghan stunned Galway in the last two minutes before the interval. First McAnespie sliced open the defence to find McConnell who drove home the only goal of the game, and then McConnell and Aoife McAnespie hit two more quickfire points to open up a five-point gap at the break.
Two more McConnell scores after the restart increased Monaghan’s advantage, and it took Galway 13 minutes to grab their first point when Hannon raised the white flag twice. This was quickly followed by scores from Sinead Burke and a Tracey Leonard free.
Despite Monaghan only managing three second-half points, Galway’s shooting let them down with six wides that should have been converted.
The result left Monaghan with a 100 per cent record at the top of the table, while Galway must win their remaining two games against Cork in two weeks’ time and finally away to Laois if they are to have any chance of reaching the league semi-finals.
Galway: T Hughes; S Noone (M Brennan 43mins ), E Flaherty, N Lohan; G Conneally, R McPhilbin, AM McDonagh; A Daly, D Lawless (P Gleeson 43mins ); L Joyce (0-1 ) (L Leonard 43mins ), B Hannon (0-3 ), E Concannon; S Murphy (0-1 ) (C Hehir 50mins ), S Burke (0-1 ), T Leonard (0-4 ).
Monaghan: E Corrigan; J Courtney, G McNally, C Reilly; L Connolly, S Courtney, A McAnespie (0-1 ); A Casey, C Courtney; N Fahy, N Mohan (0-1 ), T McNally; E McCarron, C McConnell (1-5 ), C McAnespie (0-5 ).
Referee: J Niland (Sligo ).