A last minute pointed free from Deirdre Doherty saw Mayo edge out Galway in the opening round of the Ladies National Football League in MacHale Park on Saturday evening.
For most of the second half it looked like the game was slipping away from Mayo, who had to play two ten minute periods with 14 players after Tamara O’Connor was shown a yellow card six minutes in and Rachel Kearns was sent to the line early in the second half.
Kearns made a big impact on her return to the action grabbing Mayo’s vital second goal from the penalty spot with six minutes left on the clock after Doherty was fouled by Galway goalkeeper Dearbhla Gower.
Kearns then kicked the levelling score as the clock ticked down with a fine effort of the outside of her boot from the right hand side after she had been fouled. The winning score came right at the death as Mayo were awarded a free close in off the resulting Galway kick out and Doherty held her nerve leaving no time on the clock for Galway to get back down the field.
Just after the second water break this win looked a long way off as Mayo trailed 2-13 to 1-10 following Eva Noone’s point. But credit to Mayo they dug in and battled back when they went back up to 15 players.
Mayo started the game brightly with Kearns pointing a free early on, that was quickly followed by a point from O’Connor. Galway got on the board seven minutes in when Andrea Trill knocked over a good score from the right hand side - but Mayo responded ins style with Maria Reilly finishing at the second attempt after Derbhala Gower saved her initial effort after being set up by a strong run from Kathryn Sullivan.
Megan Glynn pointed for Galway before Sinead Cafferkey tagged on Mayo’s third point to send them in leading 1-3 to 0-2 at the first water break. Shauna Howely stretched Mayo’s lead out further after the restart.
O’Connor’s sin-binning saw Galway gain more of a foothold in the game and they chalked up five points before the break with Mariead Seogie leading the way to leave them just two behind with four minutes left on the clock.
Mayo rallied strongly before tiebreak with two more points from Howley, making it four for her first half efforts - to send her team in leading 1-8 to 0-7 at the turnaround.
The second half started promisingly for Michael Moyles’s side with Howley tagging on another point and Kearns getting her second of the day either side of a Katie Slevin score.
But the game was about to take a turn in the visitors direction, a Seoige point was followed by a goal for the Tribeswomen when Slevin tucked home a penalty in impressive style.
The same player netted their second goal not long after when she palmed the ball to the net from close range after Siobhan Divlly had played the ball across the face of goal.
Galway kept the pressure up and they were a player up at this juncture, Trill kicked two points and Seoighe added another and they were leading 2-12 to 1-10 at the three quarter mark.
They pushed the lead out to six points when Eva Noone got their 13th point of the day and it looked like Mayo were down and out. But they kept plugging away and their late, late rally saw them home, with Grace Kelly and Fiona McHale kicking points to get keep them within touching distance and when they got the chance they drove for home late on.
Mayo: S Howley 0-6 (2f ), R Kearns 1-3 (1-0 penalty, 0-2 frees ), M Reilly 1-0, T O’Connor 0-1, M McHale 0-1, S Cafferkey 0-1, F McHale 0-1, G Kelly 0-1, D Doherty 0-1 (1f ).
Galway: M Seoighe 0-7 (3f ), K Slevin 2-1 (1-0 penalty ), A Trill 0-3 (1f ), M Glynn 0-1, N Ward 0-1, E Noone 0-1.
Mayo: L Brennan; O Conlon, K Sullivan, T O’Connor; E Ronayne, C McManamon, E Brennan; F McHale, M McHale; N Kelly, S Howley S Cafferkey; M Reilly, R Kearns, L Cafferkey.
Subs: C Needham for Reilly (37 ), D Doherty for M McHale (43 ), G Kelly for S Cafferkey (44 ), C Whyte for O’Connor (51 ), A Lambert for Howley (57 ).
Galway: D Gower; S Brennan, S Lynch, S Molloy; K Geraghty, N Ward, C Cooney; A Davoren, M Glynn; O Divilly, M Seoighe, L Coen; E Noone, A Trill, K Slevin.
Subs: S. Divilly for Davoren (h-t ), J Burke for Molloy (37 ), A Morrissey for Coen (45 ), A McDonagh for Noone (46 ), C Crowe for Burke (57 ).
Ref – Siobhan Coyle (Donegal ).