Galway will face Wexford again this year in the All-Ireland senior camogie final on September 11 at Croke Park after Noel Finn’s team had an impressive 2-13 to 2-7 victory over Kilkenny on Saturday afternoon in Nowlan Park.
Wexford defeated Galway in last year’s decider and they will start the 2011 final as favourites.
Nevertheless, if Galway can reproduce some of the style and work-rate they showed last weekend, and be more ruthless in front of goal, they will be in with a good shout of victory in three weeks’ time.
The reality is they should have won this semi-final by a greater margin than the six-point gap that separated the sides at the end of playing time.
There was very little between the sides in the last quarter, and, if Galway had not shot ten wides to Kilkenny’s four, and also fluffed a number of other scoring chances, they could have cruised home.
Instead of being well ahead, the result hung in the balance until corner forward Tara Ruttledge pulled on a loose ball and raised a green flag with two minutes to play to seal the win for her side.
Galway had dominated the first half, but despite the vast majority of possession they did not make it count enough on the scoreboard. Thankfully midfielder Niamh Kilkenny was in superb form and hit four first-half points.
Aislinn Connolly and team captain Brendan Hanney also hit points in that half before Hanney burst through and scored a fine goal to put Galway in a good position.
Veronica Curtin cut through just before half time for a good score and they led by 1-8 to 1-2 at half time.
Kilkenny fought back to within a single point as the final quarter approached before Niamh Kilkenny, who was selected as player of the match, shot two good points to hand the impetus back to Galway.
Niamh Kilkenny had an outstanding game and she was well supported by fullback Sinéad Cahalan, and the half-back line of Ann Marie Hayes, Therese Maher and Heather Cooney, who were terrific. Brenda Hanney did well and ended with 1-2 from play, while Noreen Coen also impressed on her introduction.
In the other semi-final Wexford defeated Cork by 2-11 to 1-9.
Galway: Susan Earner (Eyrecourt ), Therese Manton (Mullagh ), Sinéad Cahalan (Mullagh ), Lorraine Ryan (Killimordaly ), Ann Marie Hayes (Killimor ), Therese Maher (Athenry ), Heather Cooney (St. Thomas ), Niamh Kilkenny (Pearses ) 0-8 (4fs ), Ann Marie Star (Killimor ), Orla Kilkenny (Pearses ), Sandra Tannian (St. Thomas ), Aislinn Connolly (Castlegar ) 0-1, Tara Ruttledge (Portumna ) 1-0, Brenda Hanney (Cpt ) (Killimor ) 1-2, Veronica Curtin (Kinvara ) 0-1. Subs: Martina Conroy (Killimor ) for Tannian, Noreen Coen (Athenry ) 0-1 for O Kilkenny.