Ladies lose out to Galway in Connacht decider

Mayo this afternoon lost their LGFA Connacht SFC crown, as they came off second best to Galway in the provincial decider at Kiltoom on a scoreline of 1-11 to 0-9.

On what was a perfect afternoon for football, with bright sunshine and light winds at this well-appointed, elevated venue with view of Lough Ree away in the background, this was a well-fought game. It was, in large part, score-for-score in the opening half but then the scores dried up for us for over twenty minutes and that barren spell ultimately proved fatal for us.

After they’d opened the scoring, points from Lisa and Sinéad Cafferky nudged us ahead. Róisín Leonard was having trouble with her frees early on but, after missing three on the spin, she knocked over her next effort to level the scoring.

Maria Cannon, from a free, edged us back in front but two good scores from play, from Leanne Coen and Róisín Leonard, gave then them the lead.

We then had a productive spell, notching three scores without reply. Inevitably, it was the Cafferky sisters who found the target, with Sinéad bagging the first and then Lisa knocking over two carbon-copy efforts from out on the right.

We didn’t know it then but that second point from Lisa would be our final one until the same player scored again, this time from a free, well into the second half. In the interim, Galway bagged seven points without reply, turning the half-time stalemate into a five-point lead.

A second free from Lisa soon after cut the gap to three and suddenly we had a game on again. Then Sinéad was hauled down as we charged forward, the foul possibly averting a goal chance. To add insult to injury, Lisa hooked a fairly straightforward free wide.

As we hunted to reclaim possession, Galway drew our sting with four minutes of very effective keep-ball. We eventually got it back and Lisa clipped over a nice point to cut the deficit to two points with less than two minutes to the hooter.

We’d no option but to commit bodies to a full press but Galway kicked over it and from the breakaway sub Andrea Trill, at the second attempt, stabbed the ball to the net to seal a five-point win.

Like the lads, it’s now onto the All-Ireland Group Stage for the women. Today’s loss means they’re in a tough three-team group with Leinster champions Dublin and Diane O’Hora’s Kildare. Those games will both be played next month.

Mayo: Laura Brennan; Saoirse Lally, Nicola O’Malley, Kathryn Sullivan; Eilis Ronayne, Ciara Durkan, Danielle Caldwell; Aoife Geraghty, Erin Murray; Fionnuala McLaughlin, Ciara Needham, Sinéad Cafferky (0-2); Aoife Staunton, Maria Cannon (0-1, free), Lisa Cafferky (0-6, two frees). Subs: Alana Fitzpatrick for Sullivan, Fiona McHale for Cannon, Hannah Reape for Geraghty, Emma Needham for Ciara Needham, Maria Reilly for Staunton.

In our Final Whistle pod, Rob and I reflect on today’s game and we’ve post-match reaction from team captain Saoirse Lally and from manager Liam McHale. It’s up now on Patreon, details here.

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