Galway ladies captured this season’s All-Ireland u-16 football crown after disposing of Cork by a single point (3-10 to 1-15 ) in a thriller in Nenagh on Saturday.
Most of Johnny Carter’s panel went into the game with the experience of an u-14 All-Ireland winning campaign and they enjoyed the perfect start when Emma Reaney lashed into the net after picking up a long Louise Ward ball when the teams were 0-1 apiece.
Olivia Divilly’s free stretched Galway’s lead before the Rebelettes hit back with their own goal when Hannah Looney fed ace full-forward Julie Dennehy who fired past Saoirse Burke.
Dennehy then tapped over a free and Saoirse Moore quickly followed suit before Emma Reaney ended what seemed like an eternity without a Galway score.
Emer Scally and Dennehy put Cork three ahead, but Aoibhinn Joyce ended a fine sweeping moved with a second Galway goal to square things up once more at 1-6 to 2-3. At the other end Burke produced a wonderful save to deny Eirne Ni Dheasumnaigh.
However with Cork’s full forwards running the show, they hit three more points without reply to end the first half.
Although Ciara Burke and Saoirse Morre exchanged scores from play with 0-2 each, Galway kicked three frustrating and worrying wides.
The turning point came when Nicola Ward raced forward from centre-back and, after leaving several Cork players for dust, fired into the roof of the net to level the game again at 3-5 to 1-11.
It gave Galway the lift they needed. Divilly and Burke put them in front before Cork hit three without reply. But in the final 10 minutes, Galway’s workrate went into overdrive, shutting Cork down. Divilly scored her fourth point to level it again, and in another attack a minute later Ciara Burke equalled Divilly’s tally for a one-point lead.
In the end it proved enough as Cork’s last gasp equaliser from a free sailed wide.
GALWAY: S Burke; S Hynes, M Heneghan, E Gavin; M Glynn, N Ward (1-0 ), N Hanniffy; S Gavin, M Kelly (0-1 ); O Divilly (0-4, 1f ), L Ward, C Burke (0-4 ); K Carter (R Mongan 52mins ), A Joyce (1-0 ), E Reaney (1-1 ).
CORK: O Cahill; E Carey, M Ambrose, E Meaney; C O’Rourke, C Hickey, J Tonks (C Murphy 50mins ); E Ni Dheasumnaigh, A O’Connor (0-2 ); M Corkery, H Looney, A Downing; E Scally (0-3 ), J Dennehy (1-6, 6f ), S Moore (0-4 ) (B Casey 51mins ).
REFEREE: G McMahon (Dublin ).