By the sounds of it, this afternoon’s Connacht LGFA decider at MacHale Park was a real belter. Champions Galway led by four at the break but great rally by the home team saw them lead before Galway hit back to force a draw. The replay will take place on 7th July, with the finer details to be confirmed later.
Galway grabbed the initiative in this contest right from the start, with Louise Ward rattling the Mayo net two minutes in. Mayo’s hopes of getting back on terms weren’t helped when Ciara Whyte was sin-binned and the visitors instead went on to increase their advantage to five points.
Three points on the spin, however, from Sinead Cafferkey, Sara Rowe (a free) and Rachel Kearns, brought the challengers back into it but Galway responded with two points at the other end to lead by four at half-time.
Galway extended their lead with a point on the resumption but Mayo hit back straight away, with Rachel Kearns sliding the ball to the net. A second Mayo goal followed, this one from Eilis Ronayne, with the challengers now in front and hopes of a shock victory rising.
But back came Galway, with three points without reply putting them back in front. The action was now swinging from end to end and the home team got the chance to go back in front when they were awarded a penalty, for a foul on Fiona Doherty that saw Galway’s goalkeeper Lisa Murphy sin-binned. Sarah Rowe’s spot-kick was, however, saved by Galway’s substitute ‘keeper Dearbhla Gower.
A point from captain Niamh Kelly, followed by a superb solo goal by her sister Grace, put Mayo back in the driving seat once again. In a frantic finish, however, Niamh Kelly was red-carded and then Galway snatched an equalising point with five minutes still left on the clock.
They had a chance to win it too when they were awarded a free forty metres out, which was moved up for dissent. Captain Tracey Leonard miscued her effort at the posts, however, and so the game ended level.