Ward praises Galway’s mental strength

Galway senior camogie manager Tony Ward is delighted with his side’s extra-time victory over Clare last weekend, and in particular their reaction to adversity.

It is a victory that sets up an All-Ireland semi-final with Kilkenny at the Gaelic Grounds (4pm ) on Sunday week (August 24 ).

"Everything that could have been thrown at the girls last weekend, from the weather, refereeing errors, the wrong scoreline at full-time, was thrown at them, and they responded magnificently and we got out with a win which was fantastic.

"Clare are a very good team and there was a huge collective sigh of relief to have won. There was a big mistake made with the scoreline in normal time, but, mistakes happen, referees are only human and we had to get on with it.

"A massive positive is that we kept the players focused on the job in hand and did not let them get involved with any of the arguments and discussions that went on at the end of normal time. They just refocused on what had to be done in extra time, and went out and did it. They showed tremendous maturity and mental strength when it was needed."

The Galway team had top class performances all over the field, but the leadership and direction from Ann Marie Hayes was a key factor, while 2012 and 2013 All Star Niamh McGrath also gave a superb display at centre-forward.

Ardrahan's Shauna Healy had a stormer at centre-back, while Molly Dunne and Niamh Kilkenny also put in a powerful shift at midfield.

Ward admits it will be another tough battle to see who will qualify to meet either Wexford or Cork in the final.

"Thankfully we picked up no significant injuries last weekend and that 80 or 90 minutes of championship action should bring us on a lot. It was better than two hard weeks of training and we will take a lot from the manner of the win.

"Kilkenny were not beaten at all in the league this year and they will be gunning for us after beating them in last year's final. However, the whole squad is excited about the challenge of taking them on again and we are looking forward to getting ourselves right for Sunday week. It is where we want to be and we are aiming to get back to another final again this year."

There was little between champions Galway and Clare with both sides taking the lead at various stages.

An Emma Kilkelly goal was the difference between the sides at half time - 1-6 to 0-6. Clare, however, forced the game to extra time before Aislinn Connolly fired a critical goal for Galway two minutes into the third period to help Galway to a 2-10 to 0-14 win.

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