Ladies: "That was two of the best teams in the country going head to head"

June 25, 2018

Mayo's Cora Staunton before the Connacht SFC final clash against Galway at MacHale Park, Castlebar.

By DECLAN ROONEY

Six points from captain Tracey Leonard helped Galway claim a sixth TG4 Connacht senior title in the last seven years in victory over arch rivals Mayo at MacHale Park.

It was no surprise to see Cora Staunton in from the start for Mayo and she kicked half a dozen points for her side, but despite a late goal from Fiona Doherty that helped Mayo pull level, Peter Leahy's side were denied when Tracey Leonard and Mairead Seoighe kicked the winning scores for Galway.

"That was two of the best teams in the country going head to head, and no matter who won or lost it was a big advantage playing that game ahead of the All-Ireland Series," said Galway manager Stephen Glennon.

"We pushed each other really hard today in pursuit of a bit of silverware, because at the end of the day that why you're in the game."

With Roisin and Tracey Leonard in form, Galway were good value for their 0-9 to 0-7 interval lead, but with wind advantage to come in the baking heat Mayo hit back after the break.

Staunton and Niamh Kelly kept Mayo in touch and when Doherty goaled in the 50th minute Sinead Cafferky eventually drew them level. But Galway had a strong finish in reserve and Tracey Leonard and Seoighe stepped with with big scores for a 0-17 to 1-12 victory.

Meanwhile, in the TG4 Munster final, Saoirse Noonan showed her undoubted potential with a dream senior championship debut to help Cork reclaim the provincial title at CIT.

Having played poorly in the first, Cork scored four goals in the second period to claim a runaway 5-13 to 2-10 triumph over 2017 winners Kerry.

Skipper Ciara O'Sullivan hit the net twice for Cork, while Noonan bagged a brace after coming on at half-time, and dual star Hannah Looney netted a penalty. According to O'Sullivan the goals were key to their victory.

"We're delighted with the win, Kerry put it up to us, particularly in the first-half. The goals were big scores and to get four in the second half was massive for us," said O'Sullivan.

"We are looking forward now to the All-Ireland championship and this is a huge confidence boost ahead of that."

Elsewhere, Laura Fleming hit goals in each half as Roscommon denied Sligo a third TG4 Connacht ladies football intermediate crown in a row to claim their first title at the grade in emphatic style at MacHale Park.

Despite trailing by two points at the end of the first quarter Roscommon took control by the half-time hooter when Fleming and Joanne Cregg struck goals, while Jenny Higgins's third and Fleming's second four minutes from time wrapped up the win.



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