GALWAY GOT THEIR Lidl NFL Division 1 campaign off to a winning start as four points from captain Tracey Leonard points helped them to get the better of Cork in Mallow today.
The visitors were deserving winners as they played the far better football over the hour and showed they are going to be a force to reckoned with this season.
It was evident early on that this was the first outing for both as they gave the ball away easily and took some time to settle into the game. Defences were very much to the fore, with both sides finding it hard to create scoring chances.
Galway were first off the mark, four minutes in, when Roisin Leonard set up Tracey Leonard for the opening point. Two minutes later Cork, the TG4 All-Ireland runners-up in 2018, were back on level terms when Aine O’Sullivan pointed.
But straight from the restart Galway worked the ball down the pitch to retake the lead, through Riona Ní Flahartha.
In a low scoring start it took Cork 18 minutes to level, this time Orla Finn pointed after a good exchange of passes with Eimear Scally.
But the game exploded into life in the last seven minutes before half-time with first Mairead Seoighe finding herself in the sin-bin.
But this didn’t bother her side as they were back in front a minute later, when Tracey Leonard split the posts, and she doubled their advantage, to make it 0-4 to 0-2, with 25 minutes gone.
With 27 minutes played Cork found themselves down to 14 when Aine T O’Sullivan followed Seoighe into the sin-bin. But just before half-time Galway took a grip on the game, when a great ball from Megan Glynn set up Roisin Leonard for the game’s opening goal, to see her side lead 1-4 to 0-2 at half-time.
Finn got the first score of the second half for Cork, with three minutes gone and they weren’t to score again until the game was in injury-time.
Seoighe increased Galway’s lead, with 36 minutes played and she was on target again three minutes later, and this was to be the last score for the next 15 minutes.
Both sides, particularly Cork, were guilty of missing chances, before Tracey Leonard extended Galway’s lead and in the 29th minute Louise Ward made it 1-8 to 0-3.
Cork got two points in injury-time, both from O’Sullivan, with one coming back off the bar as she went for goal and she put the breaking ball over, as Galway ran out deserving winners.
Scorers for Galway: T Leonard 0-4 (0-1f), R Leonard 1-0, M Seoighe 0-2, R Ni Flahartha, L Ward 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork: A T O’Sullivan 0-3, O Finn 0-2 (0-1f).
D Gower; M Coyne, S Lynch, F Cooney; S Molloy, L Ward, C Cooney; O Divilly, M Glynn; M Seoighe, T Leonard, L Coen; R Ni Flahartha, R Leonard, S Conneally.
Subs: L Hannon for M Glynn (33), A Thompson for S Conneally (43), B Murphy for R Ni Flahartha (55), B Hannon for R Leonard (56), L Booth for M Coyne.
M O’Brien; S Kelly, H Looney, A Hutchings; M Cahalane, M Duggan, D Kiely; C McCarthy, A T O’Sullivan; E Kiely, N Cotter, L O’Mahony; L Coppinger, E Scally, O Finn.
Subs: S O’Leary for C McCarthy (h-t), A Kelleher for M Cahalane (h-t), C Collins for S Kelly (40), M Ambrose for D Kiely (50m).
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Referee: J Murphy (Carlow)
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