In two months’ time, history may reflect on this encounter more positively but Galway’s senior camogie team left Athenry in no doubt of the work that lies ahead if they are to bridge a four-year gap to their 2013 championship success.
This wasn’t a good performance, Kilkenny won the tactical battle, and Galway’s short passing game out of defence put them under unnecessary pressure. And unforced errors allowed Shelly Farrell to instigate two goals, the first finished by Michelle Quilty, giving the current title holders a deserved victory.
It would be unfair to just criticise this display without considering other circumstances. This was the Tribeswomen’s last opportunity to test themselves, even experiment, against elite competition before the business end of the All-Ireland championship race takes hold.
The results weren’t positive but the reaction was always going to paramount. If trophies were handed out in July, Galway would need a separate building in Kilreekil to accommodate those achievements, but these results are like the mock exams!
Galway beat Cork in Tullamore in 2015 and overturned Kilkenny last year in Freshford, but their respective opponents were lifting the O’Duffy Cup at the end of both campaigns. Indeed, the last time the maroon and white were equally as disappointing against the Noresiders in Kenny Park, they celebrated in September.
But the time to find themselves is over, A confident Clare team, who drew with the Cats in Nowlan Park, await on Saturday week and Galway must get a result. Another loss coupled by a Dublin victory against Kilkenny would see Galway fail to make the knock out series for the first time since 2005.
Kilkenny opened the scoring on 29 seconds with a Denise Gaule free but Ann Downey’s tactics were already evident. With Ann Dalton as sweeper, they closed out the supply to Galway’s inside trio of Noreen Coen, Ailish O’Reilly and Aoife Donohue restricting the full forwards to just one point from play.
A superb Tara Kenny hook denied Julieanne Malone a goal chance before O’Reilly got Galway’s first free on six minutes It was a dogged first half with more serves than Wimbledon but little rallies and it was 24 minutes before the game’s first point from play. Danielle Morrissey had given Kilkenny a 0-2 to 0-1 lead with a 12th minute placed ball but there was no disputing the quality of the next score.
Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune