Last weekend was a very good one for Galway camogie as Tony Ward’s senior team defeated the All-Ireland champions Cork to claim their first Irish Daily Star Camogie League division one title since 2005 by 2-15 to 2-12.
Cork’s packed defensive system was ripped to shreds in the first half by a rampant Galway forward unit which hit 2-10, with only one point of that tally coming from a placed ball.
The two goals were scored by Niamh McGrath and Molly Dunne, who both finished their chances with aplomb.
Galway led by 2-10 to 0-5 at half time, but their tendency to fade in the second half was repeated - allowing an 11-point interval advantage to be whittled down to three by the final whistle.
That second half drop in performance is an issue that team manager Tony Ward acknowledges has to be addressed before the upcoming championship.
“It was a poor show from us in the second half. It is something for seven weeks’ time when we play Cork again [(in the championship]. We won’t get away with a second half like that in championship camogie and we need to maintain our intensity and work-rate for the full game.
“We ran at Cork in the first half and they played our game in the second. Cork are not All-Ireland champions for nothing and they proved in the second half they are a serious side."
However Ward said the victory was a real boost for his young side.
“The average age of our team is only 22 and they are improving all the time. From the panel that won the All-Ireland in 2013, we’re missing 13 players through retirements and injuries. So it’s great for a young team like us, to win a league final and hold on under pressure in the last quarter.”
Galway had some super displays, with team captain Niamh Kilkenny leading the way with a tremendous display of powerful running, linking play and point taking.
Niamh McGrath, who hit 1-7 in total, her sister Orlaith, and Ailish O’Reilly were also in sublime form and Cork found them almost impossible to stop, especially in the first half.
After Cork came back strongly in the second half, it was McGrath who settled Galway with a brace of frees, and while Cork scored the last few scores, they found Galway’s 11 point interval lead too much to rein in.
Galway will look forward to the championship with plenty of optimism following last weekend's success.
Galway: S Earner, T Kenny, S Dervan, H Cooney, S Coen, S Healy, L Ryan, N Kilkenny (cpt ) 0-4, E Kilkelly, A Donohue, N McGrath 1-7, AM Starr, O McGrath 0-2, M Dunne 1-0, A O’Reilly 0-2. Subs: F Keeley for O McGrath inj (17 ), J Gill for Starr (54 ).