by Deniese O’Flaherty
Galway overturned a two point half-time deficit to claim the ZuCar All-Ireland U18 A championship title for the seventh time with a nine point win over Kildare in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, Longford.
The turning point of the game came in the 36th minute when Kate Thompson scored a penalty to give Galway the lead for the first time. It was a lead they didn’t relinquish.
The sides were level twice in the opening nine minutes. Kildare edged ahead for the third time in the ninth minute with a point from Sarah McGovern. One minute later they grabbed a goal; a short kick-out was picked up by Aoife Murnane and she made no mistake. The lead was five points when Leah McGovern pointed in the 10th minute.
Galway were back in the game in the 17th minute when Aisling Madden scored a fantastic goal; she got past a number of players before firing to the net. Both sides had chances but kicked a number of wides.
Ava Whelan put Kildare ahead by three in the 27th minute but Thompson replied with a lovely point for Galway to leave them trailing by two at the break at 1-6 to 1-4.
Siún McGovern (free) and Niamh Farrelly exchanged frees before Galway took the lead in the 36th minute. A free from McGovern came off the crossbar, Lauren O’Donnell got the rebound but was fouled in the area by Zara Hurley. Thompson duly dispatched the penalty.
The game turned in their favour and they were ahead by four in the 42nd minute, although Kildare were unlucky not to grab a second goal. In the 44th minute Mayah Doyle’s effort came off the butt of the post and one minute later Edwna Birchall hit the bar with her shot.
Down the other end Galway extended their lead to five with a fine point from Thompson. McGovern landed two more frees as the Tribeswomen were clinical in front of the posts.
Niamh Farrelly converted a free for Kildare, their first score in 23 minutes of play.
Thompson sealed the win in the 59th minute when her free eluded everyone and ended up in the back of the net.
Scorers - Galway: K Thompson 2-2 (1-0 pen,1-0f), S McGovern 0-5 (3fs), A Madden 1-0, K Slattery, É Smith, É Baird, N Divilly 0-1 each.
Kildare: N Farrelly 0-4 (1f), A Murnane 1-0, S McGovern, M Doyle, A Whelan, L McGovern 0-1 each.
Galway: L O’Halloran; S Ní Scanláin, M Jordan, E Brogan; B Naughton, A Eilian, R Reddington; K Slattery, K Banek; É Smith, É Baird, A Madden; S McGovern, N Divilly, K Thompson. Subs: L O’Donnell for Smith (22), A O’Malley for Baird (39), N Daly for Brogan and Z Duggan for Reddington (58), G Molloy for S McGovern (59).
Kildare: S Knightly; J Duggan, E Glancy, Z Hurley; J Brannigan, L Dunlea, H Murphy; S McGovern, M Doyle; E Birchall, E Kendrick, A Murnane; N Farrelly, A Whelan, L McGovern. Subs: H Lyons for Murphy (26), A Prizeman for L McGovern (ht), A Cahill for Whelan (40), C Bagnall for Brannigan and C Egan for Doyle (60).
Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (Kerry)Tweet