Lisa Cafferky of Mayo in action against Sarah Ní Loingsigh (left) and Kate Geraghty of Galway. Cafferky's haul of 2-1 helped Mayo secure both league points on offer in Duggan Park, Ballinasloe. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach | Sportsfile

Cafferky is two-goal hero as Mayo defeat old rivals Galway

Two goals from Lisa Cafferky secured a first victory for Mayo in this year’s LIDL Ladies National Football League as they held out for a 2-5 to 0-10 victory over Connacht rivals Galway in Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, writes Darren Kelly.

Leading by four points entering the final 10 minutes, Liam McHale’s charges had to resist a late fight back from the hosts, who kicked three points through Roisin Leonard (two frees) and Ailbhe Davoren.

Leonard stepped up again in the final play with a late free which would have secured a share of the spoils but her effort drifted to the left and wide as Galway fell to a second successive defeat.

Like they did in their opening game against Cork, Galway opened with an early Aoife O’Rourke free but didn’t score again until the quarter hour as two Maria Cannon placed balls had the visitors 0-2 to 0-1 up.

The Tribeswomen created two goal opportunities, with Ciara McCarthy and O’Rourke both denied, but Mayo were dealt a blow on 14 minutes when Aoife Geraghty was sin-binned for a foul on Aoife Ni Cheallaigh. Galway took advantage with three points through O’Rourke (two frees) and McCarthy to go two clear.

After winning a free on 22 minutes, Tara Needham’s superb through ball was won by Cafferky who got inside and shot to the net. That made it 1-2 to 0-4, and Mayo added another score two minutes later through Sinead Walsh. But O’Rourke reduced the deficit to 1-3 to 0-5 by half-time.

Galway came close to a goal only for O’Rourke’s shot to be stopped on the line after the restart. Leonard levelled from a 36th minute free but Cafferky’s point from play six minutes later restored Mayo’s one-point lead.

Substitute Linda Booth made it 0-7 to 1-4 on 45 minutes but the game’s critical moment came in Mayo's next attack as Jenna Mortimer and Ciara Needham helped Cafferky finish off her second goal.

Fionnuala McLaughlin added a point to make it 2-5 to 0-7 on 50 minutes but Mayo had to hold off their opponents’ momentum for the remainder, even if Tara Needham nearly got a third goal only for a fine save from Galway 'keeper Dearbhla Gower.

“Goals win you games, and that's what happened there,” said Mayo manager Liam McHale after the full-time whistle on Saturday afternoon.

He added: “But you'd have to feel sorry for Galway. In a game like that, they probably deserved a draw with the effort (they exerted). When it's a dog fight like that and it's a game that's riddled with mistakes and everybody is trying so hard, it's probably fair if it's a draw.

“But we hung there and got the result, and we'll take it. They're two very valuable points in this very competitive league, but having said that, Galway probably feel they deserved something out of it as well.”

Galway: D. Gower; M. Jordan, S. Ni Loingsigh, E. Gavin; K. Geraghty, C. Trill, A. Ni Cheallaigh; M. Glynn, L. Coen; M. Walsh, A. Davoren (0-1), S. Hynes; C. McCarthy (0-1), A. O’Rourke (0-4, 3f), A. Molloy.

Subs used: R. Leonard (0-3f), E. Reaney, L. Booth (0-1), E. O’Riordan, C. Cleary, A. Hynes.

Mayo: L. Reid; L. Wallace, N. O’Malley, S. Lally; K. Sullivan, D. Caldwell, J. Mortimer; A. Geraghty, H. Reape; F. McLaughlin (0-1), S. Walsh (0-1), M. Cannon (0-2f); T. Needham, F. McHale, L. Cafferky (2-1).

Subs used: A. Gough, E. Reape, E. Needham, A. Fitzpatrick, N. Mooney.

Referee: K. Phelan (Laois).