Derry 2-10 Galway 2-9
THE REPLAYED ALL-IRELAND camogie final lived up to billing provided by the drawn encounter with another frantically dramatic conclusion.
Just as in the initial tie, Derry struck for a late goal to edge into a one-point lead but there was no even later reprieve for Galway on this occasion and as a result, the Ulster girls will be playing senior camogie next year.
Player of the match, Karen Kielt was the hero for the champions, registering the key match-winning major on her way to clocking up 1-5.
Her first half frees were critical in keeping Derry in touch while playing into a very strong wind at Donaghmore Ashbourne in the first half. Much of the platform for her good work was provided by wing-back Aileen McCusker, and midfielder Sinéad Cassidy however.
Kielt opened the scoring from a free after 40 seconds but Derry were held scoreless for 15 minutes, during which Galway had registered a goal and five points.
Ailish O’Reilly pounced for the goal in the second minute and she started a move 19 minutes later that saw Deirdre Burke place Orla Curtin, who turned and sent a powerful drive to the roof of the Derry net. Kielt was clinical from frees but points from Elaine O’Sullivan, Marie Brehony, Burke and Clodagh McGrath put Galway in a very strong position at half time, leading by 2-7 to 0-6.
They only managed two points in the second half though and that was to prove telling.
The game swung on a passage of play after 46 minutes, when impressive substitute Rachel Monaghan set O’Reilly up with a golden opportunity to bag her second goal. Unfortunately for the Galway attacker, she failed to retain possession at the vital juncture.
From there, Derry worked the ball up the field and the brilliant Katie McAnenly hand-passed to the Galway net. Instead of trailing by nine points, Derry’s hopes had been restored with just three between the teams.
Kielt and Monaghan exchanged frees before Cassidy found Kielt in the 59th minute and the Kilrea dynamo sent a blistering drive on the run from the 20m line beyond Róisín Callanan. That wasn’t the end of it though, as Galway had one late chance. Catriona Cormican was fouled and when the resultant free was taken, made a great catch.
Under pressure from a host of Derry defenders, the midfielder somehow managed to get a hand-pass away but Claire O’Kane was perfectly placed to grab it under the posts and make a telling clearance to bring a pulsating clash to an end.
Scorers – Derry: K Kielt 1-5(0-4fs); K McAnenly 1-3; S Cassidy, G McNicholl 0-1 each
Galway: A O’Reilly 1-1; O Curtin 1-0; E O’Sullivan 0-2; S Noone (f), E Kilkelly (f), M Brehony, D Burke, C McGrath, R Monaghan(f) 0-1 each
Derry: C O’Kane; A Mullan, A Ní Chasaide, M Mooney; A McCusker, E Ní Chasaide, M McGoldrick; S Cassidy, G McNicholl; G McGoldrick, O Bradley, A McPeake; T McElroy, K McAnenly, K Kielt. Subs: B McGillion for Bradley (37); K Bradley for McPeake (42); M Kerr for Mooney (50)
Galway: R Cahalan; C Kenny, P Kenny, C Gill; L Farrell, S Noone, S Keane; C McGrath, C Cormican; A O’Reilly, E Kilkelly, M Brehony; D Burke, O Curtin, E O’Sullivan. Subs: R Monaghan for Brehony (44); A Kenny for O’Sullivan (49); R Hennelly for Curtin (52); A Lynskey for Burke (53)
Referee: D Ryan (Dublin)