National League 1/4 final: Tyrone Vs Galway

By Ciaran Woods

Tyrone’s Senior ladies team fell to defeat at the hands of a slick Galway side in the Suzuki National League Quarter final on Sunday, writes Ciaran Woods. An exhilarating and enthralling tussle throughout, the final scoreline of 5-13 to 1-12 certainly did not do justice to Tyrone’s performance.

Perhaps the signs were ominous for Tyrone even before the throw-in. St Lomans GFC, outside Mullingar was also the scene of Carrickmore’s All-Ireland Club Final defeat last season, also against Connaught opposition. However, this Tyrone side knew that history counts for little, having just one week previously ended their hoodoo against Waterford with a convincing victory.

It was always going to be difficult for the Red Hands against a side containing four replacement All-Stars, a team brimming with confidence following a very successful league campaign, defeated only by All-Ireland champions Mayo thus far. Tyrone however started most brightly and adapted best to the frantic speed of the game. With Michaela Doherty orchestrating from full-forward, Tyrone knocked over four early points; two from Doherty and one each from Elaine Coyle and Lisa Mc Girr, with a pointed free from midfielder Rita Kearney Galway’s only response.

Twelve minutes into the game marked the turning point in the tie. Midfielder Lisa Coohill, impressive throughout, embarked on a mazy forward run before playing a clever ball across the goalmouth for full-forward Gillian Joyce to palm home. This settled last years Junior All-Ireland champions into their stride, and in doing so dispelled any doubts they may have held.

Galway continued in their efforts to prise open the Tyrone defence, but to no avail. Instead it was the Ulster side who managed to quickly break downfield through Lisa Mc Girr, whose positive and direct running from centre half forward caused Galway problems all through the game. It was such a run from Mc Girr which led to a Lynnette Hughes pointed free from distance, which was quickly followed by a Katrina Murphy point after she had twisted her way through the opposition defence before coolly slotting over.

It was Galways Patricia Greenan who was catching the eye most during this period, with a wide range of excellent fielding and accurate distribution. She was again involved in a Geraldine Conneally point after fifteen minutes, and Conneally turned provider just seconds later to send hard-working midfielder Rita Kearney through for Galways second goal. After good running by Conneally, Kearney joined the attack well, arriving late into the danger zone to collect the ball and slot coolly past the Tyrone ‘keeper. Clever interplay and awareness was again evident when the impressive Gillian Joyce palmed the ball off towards corner-forward Philomena Flaherty who pointed to open up a 2-03 to 0-07 Galway lead.

The remainder of the half was as electrifying as what went before. Tyrone badly needed to raise the tempo, and did so in the best possible fashion. A patient build-up involving no less than five Tyrone players was finished when Shauna Mc Girr found space to slam the ball to the back of the Galway net for Tyrones only goal of the game.
Galway responded with points from Philomena Flaherty and full-forward Joyce, but Tyrone finished the half strongest with two points in quick succession. Lynnette Hughes pointed from what seemed an impossible angle wide on the left wing, and when Briege Daly regained possession from the resultant kick-out she sent Elaine Coyle through for a further point. Lisa Mc Girr then scored her second of the game before Conneally rounded off the first-half scoring with the sides level at
Galway 2-06 Tyrone 1-09

Patricia Gleeson, who had been so impressive in the first half for Galway, was forced off through injury at half time. Her replacement, Annette Clarke, was to prove to have as equally an important role in proceedings and finished with a personal tally of 1-1.

Cathy Hughes was introduced to the Tyrone rearguard in a bid to quell the Galway attack, but the Tribeswomen seemed to be filled with a renewed focus and enthusiasm for the game in the second half. Both Conneally and Jenny Molloy pointed before full-forward Joyce showed every ounce of her class to break through the Tyrone defence and shoot low to the corner of the net.

Tyrone responded with two points from Doherty and Hughes, the latters commencing with an excellent interception at midfield and finished with a fine left foot effort from distance. This levelled the sides again, and the game was well balanced for either side to push forward and emerge victorious.

No-one could have envisaged just how well Galway took the game to their opponents in the final quarter. Tyrones wealth of experience counted for nothing against such a hungry and determined Galway outfit, as the Tribeswomen proceeded to run riot over their Northern counterparts to such an extent that they managed to rack up a further
1-04 before Tyrone could respond.

The speed of the interplay between the Galway forward unit was breathtaking to watch, and was typified by the move which sent full-forward Joyce through to point following a combination of slick link up play and accurate passing which left the Tyrone rearguard in a state of confusion. Joyce was stamping her class and authority on proceedings, ably assisted by a dominant Galway midfield who supplied their forwards with the necessary ammunition. Conneally then tagged on three points in succession to bring her personal tally to six points for the afternoon, and was involved in the build-up to Joyce’s third goal which saw her put in expertly by Jenny Molloy.

Michaela Doherty managed another point from a free during a brief Tyrone flurry downfield, but by this stage the game was over as a contest. Galway rounded off the scoring when substitute Clarke first gathered the ball and dispatched a rasping shot to the net for her sides fourth goal, then swung over an excellent point to give Galway a well-deserved victory on a scoreline of Galway 5-13 Tyrone 1-12

Galway proved that they are definitely a force to be reckoned with at this level, and this result will surely make sides across the country stand up and take notice, while
Tyrone’s dreams of progressing further on the National stage once again ended prematurely. They must now look ahead to a potentially tricky tie against Down in the Ulster Championship first round as they bid to regain the Provincial title.

Scorers And Line-ups

Shauna Mc Girr 1-00 Lisa Mc Girr 0-02
Michaela Doherty 0-04 (2 frees) Elaine Coyle 0-02
Lynnette Hughes 0-03 (1 free ) Katrina Murphy 0-01

Gillian Joyce 3-02 Annette Clarke 1-01
Geraldine Conneally 0-06 Jenny Molloy 0-01
Rita Kearney 1-01 (1free) Philomena Flaherty 0-02

1. Martina Glackin (Fr Rocks)
2. Aisling Hagan (Beragh)
3. Maura Kelly (St Macartans)
4. Claire Mc Elroy (Carrickmore)
5. Claire Mc Garvey (Errigal Ciaran)
6. Connie Fox (Carrickmore)
7. Siobhan Mc Garvey (Errigal Ciaran)
8. Lynnette Hughes (Carrickmore)
9. Katrina Murphy (Aodh Ruadh)
10. Briege Daly (Badoney)
11. Lisa Mc Girr (St Macartans)
12. Shauna Mc Girr (St Macartans)
13. Elaine Coyle (Carrickmore)
14. Michaela Doherty (St Endas)
15. Nuala Mc Garvey (Errigal Ciaran)
Subs: Cathy Hughes (Carrickmore) for Aisling Hagan
Selena Oguz (Errigal Ciaran) for Briege Daly
Sarah Mc Elroy (Carrickmore) for Nuala Mc Garvey

1. Johanna Connolly
2. Catherine Kyne
3. Aine Gilmore
4. Fiona Wynne
5. Emma O’Malley
6. Ruth Stephens
7. Marie O’Donnell
8. Lisa Coohill
9. Rita Kearney
10. Geraldine Conneally
11. Rebecca Mc Philbin
12. Patricia Gleeson
13. Jenny Molloy
14. Gillian Joyce
15. Philomena Flaherty
Subs: Annette Clarke for Patricia Gleeson
Yvonne Daly for Jenny Molloy

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