Galway Ladies retained their Connacht crown with a deserved 0-16 to 1-9 victory over neighbours Mayo in Tuam Stadium on Sunday.
Barry Downey’s Galway charges, who last year came from behind to snatch victory, were in no mood for any more last-gasp heroics and were in control throughout.
Although Mayo’s ace Cora Staunton opened the scoring with a free, Galway kept a tight rein on Mayo’s attack and enjoyed a 0-6 to 0-1 lead midway through the opening half. Edel Concannon, who notched 0-6 in the game, replied soon after with a pointed free and she was on target again when Sinead Burke was fouled.
Athough several scoring chances went astray, Catriona Cormican and Tracey Leonard were on target to put the Tribeswoman five in front.
Aileen Gilroy got one back for Mayo before she pounced on a loose ball to smash to the net. It put Mayo right back in the contest at 1-2 to 0-5, but Galway saw out the half with a 0-9 to 1-3 lead.
The Tribeswomen maintained their hold in the second half with Edel Concannon’s free-taking accuracy keeping the scoreline ticking over. After Mayo had Sarah Rowe sinbinned with Galway leading by 0-11 to 1-04, Annette Clarke immediately capitalised with a fine point, while at the other end Johanna Connolly made a super save from a Cora Staunton effort.
As temperatures and tempers soared in the second half, both sides were reduced to 13 players, with Galway losing Mairead Coyne and Nora Ward, and Mayo losing Noelle Treacy.
However Aoibheann Daly extended Galway’s lead to six and added another soon after before Staunton replied for the division one finalists. At 0-15 to 1-5, Galway remained in the driving seat. Despite the best efforts of Staunton, there was no way back for Mayo as Galway retained the provincial crown.
In a a good weekend for Galway ladies, the u-16s also secured victory over Mayo on a super 4-17 to 0-12 scoreline. Top scorers for Galway were Ciara Burke (1-06 ) Ciara Naughton (3-02 ) and Caoimhe Boyle (0-05 ).
Action this weekend is centred on the minor ladies, managed by Danial Moynihan, in their bid for a place in the All-Ireland final when they take on Cork on Saturday in the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick at 2pm.
Galway: J Connolly; N Ward, R McPhilbin, M Coyne; O Dixon, E Flaherty, S Burke (0-2 ); A Clarke (0-1 ), G Conneally; T Leonard (0-1 ), C Cormican (0-1 ), B Hannon (0-1 ); R Leonard (0-1, 1f ), A Daly (0-3 ), E Concannon (0-6, 4fs ). Subs: L Joyce for Cormican, A Newell for R Leonard.
Mayo: Y Byrne; M Corbett, N Tierney, A Bell; C McManamon, K Sullivan, S Tierney; C Egan, C McManamon; M Carter, C Staunton (0-5, 3fs ), F McHale; S Rowe, A Gilroy (1-3 ), L Cafferkey (0-1 ). Subs: C Connelly for Corbett, N Kelly for McManamon, C Hegarty for Cafferkey.