Beaten finalists last year, and now relegated to division two - the Galway ladies footballers earned a 0 - 12 to 0 - 12 draw with Laois at O'Moore Park on Sunday, but it was not enough to save them from the drop.
In bizarre circumstances, the league table beforehand meant Galway could have avoided relegation and even booked a semi-final place had they won.
Following a nervy opening, Galway went 0-3 to 0-1 ahead thanks to two points from Tracey Leonard and a score from Edel Concannon before a Martha Kirwan double saw Laois draw level.
Although the game finished with no goals, Laois were denied a certain green flag when Maureen Young’s shot was heroicly blocked by Emer Flaherty midway through the half.
Leonard, Annette Clarke and Lorna Joyce all converted Galway scores to take a 0-6 to 0-4 lead at the break.
Although Laois hit back in the second half, Leonard and Lucy Hannon put Galway in the driving seat, 0-10 to 0-7.
With both Aoibheann Daly and Laois’ Anna Moore sinbinned, the home side hit four without reply to snatch the lead with a minute of normal time left.
However Galway began to really battle and edged in front with Leonard kicking two more frees to bring her tally to 0-8 and Galway looked to be heading for the semi-finals.
But in a final dramatic twist, Tracey Lawlor converted another Laois free with the last kick of the game to salvage a draw for the hosts and relegate Galway to division two.
Laois: C Dollard; A Quigley (0-1 ), G Dunne, E Healy; A Taylor, L Hyland, J Moore; A Casey, D Callinan (0-1 ); Mary Kirwan (0-2 ), T Lawlor (0-3, 2 frees ), S Doogue (0-1 ); Martha Kirwan (0-1 ) (A Kehoe 48mins 0-2 ), A Moore, M Young (G Weston 30mins 0-1 ).
Galway: T Hughes; S Noone, E Flaherty, G Conneally; B Walsh, R McPhilbin, N Lohan; A Daly, C Cormican; D Gorman, S Burke, L Joyce (0-1 ) (B Hannon 52mins ); T Leonard (0-8, 7 frees ), A Clarke (0-1 ) (S Murphy 57mins ), E Concannon (0-1 ) (L Hannon 44mins 0-1 ).