Galway make hard work of seeing-off Meath challenge

Galway’s Noreen Coen looks to get her shot away as Meath full-back moves in to block. Photos: Enda Noone.
Galway’s Noreen Coen looks to get her shot away as Meath full-back moves in to block. Photos: Enda Noone.

Galway 3-15

Meath   1-5

The scoreline looked comfortable and semi-final qualification was secured, but this wasn’t an easy afternoon for the Galway senior camogie team last Sunday.

Three second-half goals from Niamh Hanniffy, Laura Loughnane, and Ailish O’Reilly squashed any attempts at a shock from a Meath team who’ll ply their trade in the intermediate ranks come the summer. However, Grace Coleman’s 29th minute strike for the visitors left the maroon and white with something to ponder.

Galway had the wind in the first half and they charged 0-4 to 0-0 ahead. Shauna Healy and Noreen Coen combined to set O’Reilly up, before the Oranmore/Maree forward provided her clubmate Hanniffy for the second point. O’Reilly was threatening to take over as she tapped over a free, before helping Heather Cooney to set-up Aoife Donohue’s first point of the game on six minutes.

The breeze was strong in Salthill, but Galway managed not to score again for 15 minutes. Meath had suffered two losses and, being in the top flight following their Division Two title win last year, their Spring campaign is all about testing their credentials for the Championship.

Jane Dolan is their main threat, but she didn’t get to display her abilities to her liking thanks to the tight marking from Dervla Higgins. But Dolan did open for Meath on eight minutes before Sinead Hackett got their second.

And for an element of luck, Meath could have been in front by the 12th minute. Dolan got within range before feeling the full force of Sarah Dervan’s shoulder as her low strike went marginally wide.

Laura Mitchell also tested the awareness of Meath keeper Emily Mangan but when O’Reilly got her third white flag on 21 minutes, Galway led by 0-5 to 0-2.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.