John McIntyre at Parnell Park
IF Galway ladies footballers have ambitions of seriously challenging the sport’s dominant forces of Dublin and Cork for championship honours this summer, they will have to be a lot more clinical than was the case in Sunday’s defensive-orientated Division 1 League Final at Parnell Park.
On the surface, this was just the latest example of the Tribeswomen coming up short in a defining match, but scratch a little deeper and you will find more than enough evidence to suggest that Tim Rabbitte’s squad are getting closer to achieving a watershed breakthrough.
The unfortunate aspect of that process is that final few yards are the toughest to negotiate as Galway discovered to their cost against a Cork team which was more economic, composed and smarter in the key moments of a decider which attracted a pitiful crowd of less than 400.
Basically, from the tone of this low-scoring showdown, you’d know that Cork are used to winning league and championships; and that Galway aren’t. That belief only comes with success and for all the admirable spirit of the women in maroon on Sunday, they were lacking the necessary ruthless conviction.
Though Galway produced an explosive finish against opponents who admittedly now had only 13 players on the field, it doesn’t mask the fact that they had looked a well-beaten docket when trailing by 1-10 to 0-5 heading into the closing quarter of a final which was marred by massed-defending at both ends.
That scoreline, however, provided a false impression of Galway’s sterling efforts up to then as they had blown a series of goal-chances, most notably when Róisin Leonard’s 34th minute penalty after a foul on Leanne Coen was directed at the perfect height for Cork goalkeeper Martina O’Brien to deflect away for a fruitless 45.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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