Impressive Mayo send arch rivals Galway packing
Mayo produced a breathtaking performance this afternoon to book their place in the TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football championship semi-final, defeating pre-match favourites Galway by 1-15 to 1-11 in a rip-roaring game at MacHale Park, Castlebar, this afternoon, writes Aiden Henry.
This four-point victory for Mayo was fully deserved as they outclassed their great rivals for long periods during this encounter. Right from the word go Mayo got stuck into their opponents. Their tackling, passing moves and intensity they brought to this game left their opponents shell-shocked.
After years of Galway dominance over Mayo, this was the second time Mayo got the better of their opponents since new manager Michael Moyles took charge at the beginning of the year. While they defeated Galway in the league, the form of both sides in the championship to date had Galway installed as red-hot favourites to reverse their league defeat. But Mayo were ready for this big clash and in the end left Galway with no excuses.
Mayo now march onto the All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin who defeated Donegal this afternoon. On the evidence of this display, Moyles' charges will be no easy opponents for the defending All-Ireland champions.
Mayo won this game in the opening half. Their display in this first 30 minutes was as good as we have seen from a Mayo ladies senior team in a long number of years. They played ducks and drakes with Galway and controlled every sector of the field.
After missing one or two early chances, Mayo almost raised a green flag in the fourth minute when Lisa Cafferky broke clear only for her powerful drive to be brilliantly saved by the Galway ‘keeper Dearbhla Gower. However, within a minute Shauna Howley put Mayo in front with a pointed free. As things transpired, it was a lead Mayo were never to lose.
Grace Kelly and Rachel Kearns followed with two more points to put them three in front after eight minutes. Nine minutes had been played before Galway registered their opening score, a point from Olivia Divilly. However, after Howley and Kate Slevin exchanged points, Howley again and Kearns extended the Mayo lead to four by the time the first water break came along.
Two minutes after the mini break the Mayo lead had extended to six points after Howley and Sarah Rowe raised white flags.
Although Galway were getting little change off the solid Mayo defence, they did reduce the deficit to four points after Megan Glynn and Leanne Coen scored two quick-fire points. But Mayo hit back in style and another fine point from Rowe in the 23rd minute was followed 60 seconds later by a truly magnificent goal from Sinead Cafferky. The Kilmovee Shamrocks player received the ball 50 yards from goal before she waltzed through the Galway defence and planted the ball in the back of the net. It was a wonderful goal and a fully deserved score for Mayo at the time as they had threatened the Galway net on a few occasions before that.
In the closing minutes of the half Sinead Cafferky and Mairead Seoighe exchanged points to leave Mayo eight clear at the interval, 1-10 to 0-5.
Although eight points behind at half-time, it was always expected Galway would put in a massive effort to get back into the game after the resumption. Their task was made harder within a minute of the restart as Grace Kelly nudged Mayo nine in front with a fine point from play.
However, it was evident Galway were going to throw the kitchen sink at Mayo to try and get back into the game and after they reduced the deficit with two unanswered points in the 34th and 35th minutes the big Galway following began to get their full voice.
However, Mayo replied in the best possible way by scoring two magnificent points of their own, one from Sinead Cafferky and one from Rachel Kearns, both from play, to restore their nine-point lead by the 40th minute.
We have seen from Galway teams down through the years that they never give up, especially when playing Mayo, and it was no different this time around. In the 43rd minute they were thrown a lifeline when Seoighe managed to get inside the Mayo defence before hitting a powerful shot to the back of the net past the helpless Mayo goalkeeper Laura Brennan. But despite this body blow, Mayo hit back positively, going straight upfield and getting a score of their own, a delightful point from play from Howley.
In the final quarter Galway continued to throw everything at Mayo and managed to claw themselves back within a goal of Mayo after they scored four unanswered points. However, Mayo had the final say when Lisa Cafferky made the game safe with a great point in the 58th minute.
Overall, it was a magnificent Mayo team performance, with every player playing her part. There is little doubt Moyles and his management team have this Mayo senior side going in the right direction. This performance and victory will certainly have done their confidence an awful lot of good.
Mayo: L. Brennan, D. Finn, S. Lally, K. Sullivan, T. O’Connor, R. Durcan, F. McHale, C. Whyte, S. Cafferky (1-2), L. Cafferky (0-1), R. Kearns (0-3), N. Kelly, G. Kelly (0-2), S. Howley (0-4), S. Rowe (0-3).
Subs used: É. Ronayne, A. Dowling, M. Reilly, D. Caldwell.
Galway: D. Gower, L. Ahearne, S. Lynch, S. Molloy, C. Cooney, K. Geraghty, H. Noone, S. Divilly, A. Davoren (0-1), O. Divilly (0-1), M. Glynn (0-1), L. Coen (0-1), N. Ward, L. Ward (0-2), K. Slevin (0-2).
Subs used: M. Seoighe (1-2), A. Morrissey (0-1), E. Reaney, T. Leonard, R. Leonard.
Referee: M. Farrelly (Cavan).