Hurling and camogie

Ailish O'Reilly fires Galway to All-Ireland camogie honours

Kilkenny's Katie Power sits dejected at the final whistle of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin on Sunday Sep 8 2019 as Galway emerged victorious Picture by INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Séamas McAleenan

GALWAY won just their third ever All-Ireland senior title on Sunday and two-goal hero Ailish O'Reilly revealed that it was a fierce determination to prove the detractors wrong that drove them through a season that had its fair share of twists for the Westerners.

The worst of all those set back came just last Thursday evening when brilliant defender Tara Kenny suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury and forced a reshuffle just days before the final.

“There was a lot of talk about the Kilkenny forwards but I think every time we ran at their defence we looked dangerous” said O'Reilly, picking up her second medal six years after the last success.

“The pressure was on them and we went out and put everything out there for 60 minutes and I'll appreciate this one for sure.

“2013 feels like a lifetime ago. I was vomiting all that morning and I flew off on Erasmus a few days later so I didn't appreciate it enough. By God am I going to enjoy this one.

“After we beat them in the League final and when they beat us in the first round of the Championship, I don't think we got credit for that win. We didn't need to show our full hand that early in the championship. We knew we would meet them again – and Cork – and we worked for the semi-final and final games

“Whatever Cathal (Moore, the manager) has done this year with our team, there's a mentality and a belief there that whatever is thrown at us, we were going to come fighting back even two times harder. This win is for Tara.

“I don't think our backs have gotten enough credit all year. Again, a lot of talk was about Kilkenny and that suited us down to the ground. We showed what we're capable of. We beat Cork and we beat Kilkenny so I think we deserve this one.

“I think we've proved a lot of people wrong today. We said ‘work-rate, work-rate, work-rate' no matter who we were playing and I believe 100 per cent that got us over the line.”

Kilkenny manager praises Galway

Kilkenny manager Ann Downey was magnanimous in defeat, praising Galway for their hunger but backing her troops to come back from a third devastating Final defeat on the trot.

“The three first half goals really killed us and they all came from their puckouts that were landing on our centre-back. They won the breaking ball and from that their centre-field was doing the overlap. We just didn't contain it. In fairness Galway hunted in packs today and we didn't.

“We made some positional changes at half-time and that helped the situation. We got within two points of them but never closer. But they swarmed us and they were hungrier than us.

“I've no idea why. Maybe it was that they haven't been here for so long and we were here the last few years and maybe our players were so afraid of losing, they weren't able to express themselves. I know they'll be disappointed with their performances.

“It's all about the day and we didn't perform on the day… we were used to running all year and obviously Galway had done their homework and stopped that overlap.

“In the first half our half-forwards should have pushed up more and helped our centre-field more with the overlap but it all goes down to the will to win and the hunger and they had it in spades today.

“They've been here so many times and come back and come back but it'll be a long winter and we'll reassess after it, sit down and see what everyone wants to do. They'll go back to their clubs and we'll be there for them and support them to try and get over today.”

SUNDAY'S comeback success for Westmeath was a special event for the Greville family.

Manager Johnny Greville was joined on the side-line by younger brother Jimmy while their sister Pamela turned in a Player of the Match performance shooting nine points in the 1-11 to 1-9 victory over Galway that sees Westmeath move into senior camogie for next season – just two years after becoming Junior champions for the first time.

The full-forward is into her third decade of senior camogie for the county and was not surprisingly very emotional at the close of play as she embraced her 15 year-old daughter Stephanie.

“I have been playing a long time for Westmeath. I have played on teams that took bad beatings, I have played on teams that promised a lot and then fell short. But today is a special day for me and having Stephanie there to share it with me is really special.

“I am 36 later this month and coming towards the end of my county career, but I owe a lot to my two brothers who have worked hard over the last couple of years not only with the senior team, but with underage teams to bring player through that could take us through to this moment.

“Senior Camogie – that's been our aim for a few years now. It shows, when you put your mind to it what people can too. It's a brilliant Westmeath team and I've loved every minute of being with them.”

However after an indifferent first half they trailed Galway by 1-8 to 0-4 and it looked as if the occasion had got to the team.

“In the dressing room at half-time we said we'd been there before and come back. We had it in the tank. We didn't give them space and we got the scores when we needed them,” said the Raharney club player.

Greville hit back on the resumption with three points and captain Mairéad McCormack scored a goal in the 41st minute. Westmeath kept pressing, worked scores – three more from Greville – and held Galway scoreless until injury time.

“The workrate out there in the second half from goalie the whole way up meant Galway didn't have the time to do anything and then we were breaking free. It's always the scorers and forwards get the praise but this was about the whole team.

“I started a ridiculous amount a time ago and the dream of playing Senior Camogie was what kept me going. We'll see how the legs handle it after the winter! We're going to enjoy this. It's been a long time coming.”

IN the Liberty Insurance Premier Junior Championship final Patrice Diggin celebrated her birthday by scoring five points and collecting the Player of the Match honours as Kerry won their first ever national camogie title defeating Limerick 0-11 to 0-8 in Croke Park.

Remarkably Bríd Horan, the only Kerry player not with the Clanmaurice club, opened the scoring with a point after five minutes and contributed well to what really was a club success as much as a Kerry county one.

All-Ireland Camogie Senior Championship final: Croke Park: Galway 3-14 Kilkenny 0-17

All-Ireland Camogie Intermediate Championship final: Croke Park: Westmeath 1-11 Galway 1-9

All-Ireland Camogie Premier Junior Championship final: Croke Park: Kerry 0-11 Limerick 0-8

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Final

Galway 3-14 Kilkenny 0-17

GOALS win games. Three in the first half of this Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior final in Croke Park brought Galway to a third ever national title and wrapped up a first ever league and championship double for the westerners.

The first goal, from Ailish O'Reilly, came in the second minute in response to the first of Michelle Quilty's eight points for Kilkenny. And Galway were on their way to the title in front of a record attendance for a standalone final of 24,730.

Over the next ten minutes the teams attacked relentlessly and Galway went 1-5 to 0-6 ahead with Quilty punishing Galway's aggressive tackling at the back with some fine frees, while Niamh Kilkenny's influence on the game grew around the midfield area, Caitriona Cormican closed down the considerable threat of Anne Dalton and O'Reilly and Catherine Finnerty got in behind the Nore-siders' defence for scores.

Galway created two goal openings before they hit gold with two strikes just before the break; in the 26th minute Niamh Hannify slipped a ground shot to the net and O'Reilly, once again fed by Niamh Kilkenny, added her second goal two minutes later.

In an exciting, high-scoring and skilful final, the losers came back from being seven points in arrears after Carrie Dolan's point at the start of the second half made it 3-8 to 0-10 and by the 50th minute that gap was down to two points.

However as they had done in the League final at the end of March, Galway showed the men-tal strength to change gears and pull away once more to inflict a third consecutive September defeat on the Cats.

Kilkenny didn't score during the last ten minutes, while Galway closed out the game with four consecutive points, one from a free in the middle of the field by goalkeeper Sarah Healy and two from the on-fire Niamh Kilkenny who was my Player of the Match at midfield for the winners.

GALWAY: C Dolan 0-6, frees; A O'Reilly 2-0; N Kilkenny 0-4; N Hanniffy 1-0; N Coen, S Spellman, C Finnerty, Sarah Healy (f) 0-1 each

KILKENNY: M Quilty 0-8, 0-7 frees; M Walsh, D Gaule (1f), A Dalton (1f) 0-2 each; D To-bin, A Farrell, A Doyle 0-1 each

GALWAY: Sarah Healy 0-1 free, Shauna Healy, S Dervan, H Cooney, L Ryan, C Cormican, E Helebert, A Donohue, N Kilkenny 0-4, C Dolan 0-6 frees, S Spellman 0-1, N Coen 0-1, C Finnerty 0-1, N Hanniffy 1-0, A O'Reilly 2-0.

Sub: AM Starr for Coen (42)

KILKENNY: E Kavanagh, C Dormer, C Foley, E Keane, K Doyle, C Phelan, G Walsh, M Farrell, D Tobin 0-1, A Farrell 0-1, K Power, A Dalton 0-2, 0-1 free, M Quilty 0-8, 0-7 frees, M Walsh 0-2, D Gaule 0-2, 0-1 free.

Subs: A Doyle 0-1 for Keane (29), D Morrissey for A Doyle (56)

REFEREE: Ray Kelly (Kildare)

Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate final

Westmeath 1-11 Galway 1-9

A 41st minute goal, finished by captain Máiréad McCormick, took Westmeath from seven points down at the break to the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate title just two years after collecting the Junior crown.

Veteran full-forward Pamela Greville kept the Lakesiders in the competition after they opened with the first two scores, but then lost momentum as Galway sped into a 1-8 to 0-4 interval lead with an unanswered 1-6. The goal was a bullet from Ava Lynskey in the 20th mi-nute, and four of the points came from Rachel Monaghan.

Westmeath were wasteful in the opening half, but upped the ante significantly on the re-start and Greville, who finished with nine points, fired over a 45 and two frees to narrow the gap.

Then came the goal from McCormack, who slid a ground shot to the net after being hooked brilliantly by Louise Brennan.

All over the field Westmeath were on top and Galway reeling, with Megan Dowdall and Sheila McGrath very prominent during that period, and Greville hit three of the next four points.

Indeed Galway were kept scoreless for the second half until the fourth minute of injury time when a 25m free from substitute Niamh Horan whistled over the bar. But Westmeath won the poc out just before Andrew Larkin blew the final whistle to set off brilliant celebrations from the mid-land county.

WESTMEATH: P Greville (0-9, 0-6 frees); M McCormack 1-0; N Horan, S McGrath 0-1 each

SCORERS FOR GALWAY: R Monaghan (0-4, 0-2 frees); A Lynskey 1-1; T Ruttledge 0-2; K Kennedy, N Horan (f) 0-1 each

Westmeath: F Keating, A O'Malley, M Scally, L Doherty, A Cully, F Leavy, Sandra McGrath, M Scally, N Horan 0-1, M McCormack 1-0, Sheila McGrath 0-1, M Dowdall, M Murtagh, P Greville 0-9, 0-6 frees, C McCrossan.

Sub: A Doherty for Horan (37)

Galway: L Glynn, C Donohue, L Ward, L Brennan, K Screene, L Coen, D Higgins, L Casser-ly, M Mannion, K Kennedy 0-1, A Lynskey 1-1, R Monaghan 0-4, 0-2 frees, E Broderick, M Dillon, T Ruttledge 0-2.

Subs: R Hanniffy for Broderick (48), N Horan 0-1 free for Monaghan (48), C Lee for Bren-nan (56)

Referee: Andrew Larkin (Cork)

Liberty Insurance Premier Junior Championship final

Kerry 0-11 Limerick 0-8

Patrice Diggin celebrated her birthday by scoring five points and collecting the Player of the Match honours as Kerry won their first ever national camogie title in Croke Park yesterday.

Remarkably Bríd Horan, the only Kerry player not with the Clanmaurice club, opened the scoring with a point after five minutes and contributed well to what really was a club success as much as a Kerry county one.

The teams went to two points each before a run of four unanswered points took Kerry clear after 20 minutes only for Limerick to hit back before the break, with frees from Rebecca Noonan either side of a smart finish by Ella Whelan making it 0-6 to 0-5 at the change of ends.

Clodagh Walsh hit a quick point on the re-start and Rachel McCarthy, Sara Murphy and Dig-gin from a free opened a gap by the three-quarter mark.

Although Shauna Darcy closed the gap, Kerry were on top at the back and would probably have won a lot easier had they converted just a couple of the many chances they created dur-ing the final quarter.

KERRY: P Diggin 0-5 (0-4 frees); B Horan, J Horgan, J O'Keeffe, R McCarthy, S Murphy, C Walsh 0-1 each

LIMERICK: R Noonan (0-5 frees); N Curtin, E Whelan, S Darcy 0-1 each

Kerry: A Fitzgerald, E Ryall, L Houlihan, A O'Connor, N Leen, S Murphy 0-1, M Costello, P Diggin 0-5, 0-4 frees, L Collins, J Fitzell, J Horgan 0-1, R McCarthy 0-1, B Horan 0-1, J O'Keeffe 0-1, O Dineen.

Subs: A M Leen for Fitzell (ht), C Walsh 0-1 for Horan (ht), A Maunsell for O'Keeffe (48)

Limerick: L O'Carroll, K Herbert, Y Lee, E Butler, S Shanahan, A Coughlan, S McElligott, O Kelleher, A Kennedy, R Noonan 0-5 frees, G M O'Kelly, N Curtin 0-1, M Curtin, G Lee, E Whelan 0-1.

Subs: L Browne for Kelleher (35), S D'arcy 0-1 for O'Kelly (44), C Brennan for Lee (45), K Carroll for N Curtin (55)

Referee: Gavin Donegan (Dublin)

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