Flattering Galway outfit let six-point lead slip in league decider with Tipperary

Tipperary 1-13

Galway 0-15

SOMETIMES, the best team doesn’t win. That was the fate of the Galway senior camogie players who fluffed their lines when chasing a first ever National League title hat-trick at Croke Park on Sunday.

In control of this Division 1A final – 0-8 to 0-2 ahead – with less than 10 minutes remaining in the first-half, the Tribeswomen appeared set to maintain their current successful relationship with camogie’s second most important competition.

More experienced, more streetwise, winning the physical battles and tormenting the Tipperary defence down its right flank, Galway were sending out all the right signals in the opening quarter, only to gradually and unexpectedly lose their way.

Having lost to Tipperary in their previous two group league outings, Cathal Murray’s charges had a score to settle, and you could see from the opening exchanges that there was an edge to the team’s play. Niamh McPeake’s runs on the left wing were doing damage, while Ailish O’Reilly on the forty was breaking tackles for sport.

Tipperary were struggling to get to the pitch of the battle and only Player of the Match Karen Kennedy managed to avoid the mediocrity in the blue and gold jerseys around her. Yet, by the break, the challengers were only one point behind.

It wasn’t as though Tipperary had done anything spectacular, but they were winning frees – a couple perhaps dubiously awarded – with Eimear McGrath landing five placed balls in the opening 30 minutes.

Their management, however, wasn’t hanging about and a double substitution in the 26th minute reflected their alarm at how the final was progressing. This shake up made a difference, with one of those substitutes, Clodagh Quirke, adding some badly needed physicality.

Tipperary had slowly reeled in a flattering Galway team which failed to score in the final 10 minutes of the half. It was a big contrast to the early action as the McGrath sisters, Orlaith and Siobhán, O’Reilly (twice), along with Aoife Donohue and Carrie Dolan (frees), all split the posts.

With Roisín Black, Dervla Higgins, and Ciara Hickey standing out in a defence denied the services of cruciate victim Siobhán Gardiner, Galway’s mix of the old and the new often had Tipperary chasing shadows.

Pictured: Tipperary’s Karen Kennedy is chased by Galway’s Ally Hesnan and Áine Keane during Sunday’s Division 1A National Camogie Final at Croke Park. Photos: INPHO/Ryan Byrne.

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