The Galway senior ladies camogie team relinquished their all-Ireland title last Sunday when they went down to a highly motivated and skilful Kilkenny outfit in the Liberty Insurance all-Ireland senior semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
Tony Ward’s team tried extremely hard and fought to the bitter end, and came strongly back into contention from a long way back after two goals by impressive substitute Brenda Hanney in the final quarter.
However, there can be no complaints about Kilkenny’s superiority and they won handily enough in the end, on a score-line of 4-12 to 3-07.
Kilkenny raced into an early lead in the first half, however, two of their goals were as the result of bad Galway errors.
One came from a very poorly directed hand-pass from a Galway defender which was superbly dispatched by the impressive Ann Dalton, and the second arrived when Galway goal keeper Susan Earner surprisingly dropping an easy catch into her own net.
Kilkenny had real stars up front in Katie Power, Shelly Farrell, and Denise Gaule, who scored 1-5 (0-1f ) for the winners.
Galway were behind by 2-5 to 1-3 at half-time. It was obvious that they were not functioning as well as they did in last year’s final against the same opposition and they were on the back foot for most of the first 30 minutes.
Sinéad Cahalan, Lorraine Ryan, and Sarah Dervan, provided stout resistance in defence and Niamh Kilkenny tried hard at midfield, with Orlaith McGrath and substitute Brenda Hanney especially, Aisling Connolly, and Anne Marie Starr catching the eye up front when introduced.
At one stage in the second half, Galway had fought back valiantly to within two points, with former captain Brenda Hanney scoring a goal to give Galway some hope and something to fight for.
Kilkenny hit back hard despite some raucous Galway support in the stand, and rattled over a few scores of their own.
It was not to be Galway’s day, despite another Hanney goal, and Kilkenny showed great composure and belief to really power on in the final 10 minutes to qualify for the final against either Cork or Wexford who drew their semi-final on Saturday.
Tony Ward, selectors Deccie Walsh and Orla Watson, and trainer Liam Hodgins, had a stunning success last year, and their team did their best to get back to that level again in 2014.
However, it was not to be.
They were beaten by a better team last Sunday, but to be fair the players died with their boots on, and fought to the final whistle which is commendable and hopefully they can re-scale the heights of 2013 again in 2015.
Galway: S Earner, T Manton, S Dervan, H Cooney, S Cahalan, S Healy, L Ryan, M Dunne, N Kilkenny, R Hennelly, N McGrath 0-4 (2fs ), E Kilkelly, O McGrath 1-1, AM Hayes, A O’Reilly.
Subs: A Connolly 0-1 for O’Reilly, AM Starr (0-1 ) for Kilkelly, B Hanney (2-0 ) for Hennelly, E Haverty for Dunne, G Glynn for Healy.