Kilkenny 1-13, Galway 0-12
KILKENNY’S triumph means that we will have new Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior champions when the Cats play Cork in the final.
Galway’s failure to out-gun the Cats defence and in particular to get the better of super goalkeeper Aoife Norris proved to be its downfall.
The Cats dominated for most of the second half, from the time Laura Murphy drilled a smashing goal to the corner of the Galway net from in the 37th minute.
Kilkenny led two minutes after Norris had denied Sabina Rabbitte.
Kilkenny’s quality and amazing workrate in the first quarter signalled its intent.
But it still trailed at half-time by two, 0-8 to 0-6.
Nifty Norris made three wonder saves, including a penalty by Galway goalkeeper Sarah Healy, after Michelle Teehan rugby-tackled Siobhán McGrath.
Julianne Malone’s return after a three-year absence has been a huge plus for Kilkenny. She scored four points from play.
When Katie Nolan pointed 10 minutes in, Kilkenny led by two but Carrie Dolan and Catherine Finnerty brought Galway level.
NIP AND TUCK
Mary O’Connell should have goaled after being put through by Miriam Walsh but blazed over.
It was still nip and tuck as the teams also level on 0-4, 0-5 and 0-6 each.
Exchanges were ferocious and Shauna Healy did well to survive a shuddering hit before offloading to O’Reilly for the final score of the opening half.
Gaule halved the deficit from a free. She was very influential in possession.
Norris was called into action once more in the 35th minute, coming out to narrow the angle as Rabbitte cut in from the left and made a brave stop.
Dolan made no mistake from the 45, but two minutes later, Murphy gave Sarah Healy no hope.
Aoife Donohue slotted a sweet score and Dolan an equaliser from a placed ball and the game was in the melting pot with 10 minutes left.
It was Kilkenny that grew in stature, with heroic defending keeping Galway scoreless.
At the other end, Murphy, Nolan (free), Malone and Sophie Dwyer edged the Cats ever closer to the final.
Scorers for Kilkenny: J Malone 0-4; L Murphy 1-1; K Nolan 0-3(2fs); M O’Connell, D Gaule (fs) 0-2 each; S Dwyer 0-1
Scorers for Galway: C Dolan 0-8(6fs, 1 45); A Donohue 0-2; A O’Reilly, C Finnerty 0-1 each
KILKENNY: A Norris, T Fitzgerald, M Teehan, Claire Phelan, N Deely, G Walsh, S Fitzgerald, L Murphy, K Power, J Malone, D Gaule, M Kenneally, M O’Connell, M Walsh, K Nolan. Subs: S Dwyer for Kenneally (49); M Bambrick for Murphy (59), A Prendergast for Power (60), Ciara Phelan for T Fitzgerald (60+5)
GALWAY: Sarah Healy, R Hanniffy, S Dervan, H Cooney, E Helebert, Shauna Healy, R Black, A Donohue, Ni Kilkenny, N Hanniffy, A O’Reilly, C Dolan, C Finnerty, S McGrath, S Rabbitte. Subs: D Higgins for Rabbitte (37); Á Keane for O’Reilly (54); S Gardiner for Helebert (58); S Spellman for McGrath (60)
REFEREE: Andy Larkin (Cork)