Camogie: Donohue goal the difference as Galway advance past Waterford to last four

July 07, 2024

Waterford's Keeley Corbett and Aoife Donohue of Galway ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Galway 1-12
Waterford 1-9

by Daragh Ó Conchúir, at Croke Park

A spectacular finish for a goal in the 40th minute by Aoife Donohue was the fitting decider as Galway edged out last year’s finalists Waterford to reach the last four of the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior camogie championship, where they will play Tipperary.

Beth Carton drove to the net from a penalty eight minutes from the end of normal time to reignite the Déise’s aspirations and goalkeeper Brianne O’Regan pointed from a free inside her own half to reduce the margin to the minimum but it was Galway that struck the last two scores, via Donohue and the pacy Olwen Rabbitte to set up a semi-final that is a repeat of the League final won by Tipp.

That means champions Cork will play yesterday’s quarter-final winners Dublin in the other semi-final, with both games taking place at UPMC Nowlan Park on July 27.

The first half was cagey in the extreme, with Waterford deploying Alannah McNulty as an effective sweeper, leaving Galway with a plus one of their one, most often, though not always, in the form of the robust and clever Áine Keane.

That wasn’t the core reason for the lack of pace however, which could be attributed more to a lack of sharpness and accuracy in control and delivery.

Galway led at the end of that opening period by 0-7 to 0-5, which was probably a fair reflection of proceedings, with Cathal Murray’s side having possessed the greater threat earlier on and always keeping their noses in front, a thunderous point from the tremendous Dervla Higgins a highlight of their efforts.

The injury that ruled Waterford full-forward, Mairéad O’Brien out of from the start – she also missed yesterday’s All-Ireland ladies football quarter-final in which Clodagh Carroll, McNulty and Annie Fitzgerald also played – was a huge blow, particularly in the context of Waterford struggling to get their running game going.

Having a direct route has been a fruitful option for the Déise all season, with O’Brien scoring six goals in the group stages. They just could not make the sliotar stick inside. O’Brien did come on at the three-quarter mark but was unable to get involved.

Also unavailable was Vikki Falconer, recovered from a cruciate ligament injury suffered in last year’s All-Ireland final, who strained a quad on Monday on Monday, while skipper, Lorraine Bray’s influence was neutralised by a broken hand.

Galway weren’t without their injury issues, with Annmarie Starr out due to an ankle injury. They could welcome back the tireless Donohue however after a month’s absence and she is sure to come on for the outing, even with her match-winning contribution.

Carton was marked by Niamh Hanniffy and her scores from placed balls kept Waterford in the game.

Niamh Mallon shot the first point from play in the seventh minute, reacting well to a rebound but it would have been a goal had Niamh McPeake not gone straight at the best shot-stopper in the country, O’Regan from an angle instead of sending a simple hand-pass across to the Portaferry native.

Mallon had another soon after but Waterford managed to lock down the supply and Laoise Forrest did well in the one-on-one tussels.

The second half didn’t open up to any degree, though there were two goals. Donohue’s was the key one as she raced away with that trademark electric burst. Her first shot was saved by O’Regan but the sliotar came straight back to her and she instinctively doubled it back of the netminder’s head for an outstanding goal.

A Carrie Dolan point put five between the sides but when Niamh Rockett was unceremoniously downed in the square, having slotted three points from play up to that juncture, Carton drilled beyond the diving Sarah Healy and it was game on.

Galway gritted it out however and hard though Jerry Wallace’s side tried, the facts are they never led and that it was the westerners who just about deserved to get over the line.

SCORERS FOR GALWAY: A Donohue 1-1; C Dolan 0-4(fs); N Mallon 0-2; D Higgins, N McPeake, A O’Reilly, N Niland, O Rabbitte 0-1 each

SCORERS FOR WATERFORD: B Carton 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-3fs, 0-1 45); N Rockett 0-3; B O’Regan (f), O Hickey 0-1 each

WATERFORD: B O’Regan, L Forrest, C Carroll, A McNulty, K Lynch, K Corbett, M Power, B Bowdren, L Bray, N Rockett, B Carton, O Hickey, A Flynn, T Power, R Kirwan. Subs: A Fitzgerald for Kirwan (25); S Lacey for T Power (36); R Walsh for Mairéad Power (36); M O’Brien for Lynch (44); M Gostl for Bray inj (56)

GALWAY: S Healy, R Black, C Hickey, D Higgins, A Keane, N Hanniffy, R Hanniffy, A Hesnan, A Donohue, C Dolan, N McPeake, A O’Reilly, N Kilkenny, N Niland, N Mallon. Subs: O McGrath for McPeake (42); O Rabbitte for Hesnan (57); S Rabbitte for Kilkenny (58)

REFEREE: Ray Kelly (Kildare)

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