by Ivan Smyth
Galway took a significant step closer to securing a final berth in the Lidl NFL Division 1 as they overcame Waterford.
Galway’s strong defensive showing proved to be instrumental as they restricted Waterford to just three points from play. The Déise had rattled the net in each of their four previous outings this year but they struggled to carve out chances against a well organised Galway defensive unit.
The opening half saw Galway start at a ferocious pace. Kate Slevin arrowed over after 14 seconds after great work by Hannah Noone and Olivia Divilly to set up the sharpshooter.
Aoife Molloy doubled the lead before Olivia Divilly kicked an impressive score.
Despite Galway kicking three points inside the opening four minutes, Waterford refused to panic as they began to gain control of their own kickouts and put the Galway defence under increased pressure.
Kellyann Hogan fired over a Waterford free in the 10th minute to open her side’s account. Two minutes later a Hogan free dropped just short with an almighty scramble around the goalmouth culminating in Galway full back Sarah Ní Loingsigh winning a free out.
Roisin Leonard’s free taking proved important for Galway as she scored three fine efforts, all off the ground. The Waterford defence held Galway scoreless from play from the fourth minute until half-time but they found the Tribeswomen’s rearguard tough to crack.
Waterford wing back Kate McGrath slotted an excellent score from range but it was Galway who led 0-6 to 0-2 at half-time.
Waterford moved to within one score when Megan Dunford arrowed over but Galway gradually increased the pressure on the opposition rearguard as Olivia Divilly, Roisin Leonard (free) and Eva Noone all troubled the scoreboard.
Tracey Leonard slotted a classy point in the 49th minute to give Galway a seven point advantage as Waterford went 24 second half minutes without a score.
Eve Power kicked an excellent score from range while Kellyann Hogan converted a free to cut Waterford’s deficit to five. However, Galway expertly saw out the final stages as they now need one win from their final two games to secure a spot in Croke Park.
Scorers – Galway: R Leonard 0-4 (4f), O Divilly 0-2, K Slevin, A Molloy, T Leonard, E Noone 0-1 each.
Waterford: K Hogan 0-2 (2f), K McGrath, E Power, M Dunford 0-1 each.
GALWAY: K Connolly; K Geraghty, S Ní Loingsigh, E Gavin; C Cooney, N Ward, A Molloy; A Davoren, H Noone; L Coen, N Ward, O Divilly; K Slevin, R Leonard, T Leonard.
Subs: E Noone for Slevin (37), L Noone for Coen (39), C Miskell for R Leonard (46), A O’Rourke for T Leonard (54), S Divilly for Cooney (54)
WATERFORD: E O’Brien; A Murray, M Dunford, C Murray; Karen McGrath, E Murray, H Power; K Hogan, Kate McGrath; C McCarthy, A Waring, Á O’Neill; A Fitzgerald, B McMaugh, L McGregor.
Subs: K Murray for McCarthy (42), E Power for Waring (54), C Hynes for Fitzgerald (54).
Ref: Kevin Phelan (Laois).Tweet