A blistering opening 20 minutes from Galway meant there was no chance of a second upset in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland quarter final on Saturday in Semple Stadium. Having watched Dublin earn a well-deserved victory in the opening game Galway got off to a flying start and set down a marker showing everyone that they are serious All-Ireland contenders this year. It took Tipperary all of 21 minutes to get on the scoreboard through a Ciardha Maher point. By then Galway had amassed a massive 10 points.
Before the game a late change to the starting team saw the youngest of the McGrath sisters, 16 year old Siobhan start corner forward. From the offset it was clear that Galway’s game plan was to supply the fast paced forward with lots of posession into her corner where she exploited the wide open spaces of Semple Stadium to cause the Tipperary defence all sorts of trouble early on. Alongside her full forward Ailish O’Reilly was very accurate from frees while Niamh and Orlaith McGrath also got on the scoresheet. Tipperary had no answer to Galway’s pace, physicality and sheer intensity and struggled to make any impact on proceedings until the final 10 minutes of the first half when they scored 5 points through Ciardha Maher, Cait Devane and Orla O’Dwyer to cut the deficit to 7 points, 0-12 0-5 at the interval.
An early second half point from Tipp’s most effective player Orla O’Dwyer meant there was only 6 points between the sides but any sign of a comeback was quickly quashed when Ailish O’Reilly goaled. From here on in it was all Galway as Niamh Kilkenny and Ann Marie Starr gave an exhibition at midfield finishing with 5 points between them. Tara Kenny was excellent throughout in defence as was Sarah Dervan who was back after a lengthy injury lay off. The tribeswomen’s movement with and without the ball created a constant overlap resulting in their forwards scoring at ease. Brian Boyle rung the changes in the second half but the result was never in doubt as Galway
marched their way into the final four where they will meet Cork in what should be a titanic battle between two of the country’s top camogie sides.
Player of the Game
There were lots of contenders on the Galway side but the one player which epitomised all that was good about their display was Niamh Kilkenny. Operating at midfield she was the engine of the team while also scoring 4 points from play.
Galway: Sarah Healy, S Dervan, R Black, T Kenny, H Cooney, R Hennelly, L Ryan, O McGrath, A M Starr 0-1, N McGrath 0-3, M Cooney 0-2, N Kilkenny 0-4, A Donohue 0-1, A O’Reilly 1-7(0-6fs, 0-1 45), S McGrath 0-2. Subs: N Hanniffy for Cooney (51), C McGrath for Black (55), Shauna Healy for Kenny (56), C Finnerty 0-1 for Donohue (58), N Coen for S McGrath 58)
Tipperary: O McEniry, C Walsh, G Grace, J A Bourke, A McGrath, Caoimhe Maher, C Quirke, E Fryday, Megan Ryan 0-1, O O’Dwyer 0-2, C Devane 0-3(2fs), N Walsh, Mary Ryan, R Howard 0-1, Ciardha Maher 0-2. Subs: M Teehan 0-1 for McGrath temp (23, McGrath for Fryday 33), T Ryan for Caoimhe Maher (37), E Loughman for Bourke (37), M Campion for Walsh (53)