Ladies: Waterford finish strong to retain Division 1 status and relegate Galway

April 07, 2024

Waterford's Kellyann Hogan ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Waterford 0-11 
Galway 0-9 

by Darren Kelly 

Waterford produced a powerful final quarter to emerge two-point victors at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe and preserve their Lidl National Football League Division 1 status and send Galway down to Division 2 next year. 

Trailing 0-8 to 0-6 with 20 minutes remaining, Pat Sullivan’s side were resilient in defence before nailing the crucial scores in attack.  

Lauren McGregor’s free on 42 minutes was followed by Emma Murray’s equaliser 60 seconds later and the Munster side didn’t look back. 

On 52 minutes, Katie Murray’s third point gave the Deise the lead and she was instrumental in their next two white flags. Points from Áine O’Neill and McGregor put three between them. 

This was a winner-takes-all battle and as a result, Galway drop to Division 2 in 2025. And they will reflect on multiple missed opportunities even if a Róisín Leonard free brought the deficit back to two. 

Two late goal surges were repelled, the second a superb block from Waterford’s Hannah Power. Kate McGrath also suffered an injury time yellow card thwarting the advances of Ailbhe Davoren. 

Conditions were superb with a dry sod thanks to the strong wind that also made kicking difficult. Two early Kellyann Hogan Waterford frees were cancelled out by Shauna Hynes and Emma Reaney. 

Galway then enjoyed their best spell putting three between them. Hynes got her second after good work from Nicola Ward and Davoren; Leonard registered a free; and Leanne Coen finished off a four-player move on 17 minutes. 

But they didn’t add to their advantage as Clare Walsh profited from Emma Murray’s pass for a Waterford score. And even though Olivia Divilly and Reaney increased the Tribeswomen’s total, McGregor and Katie Murray ensured it remained a two-point game at the break at 0-7 to 0-5. 

McGregor had tested Galway keeper Dearbhla Gower before the interval while a long Hogan delivery also required Gower to be alert upon the restart.  Katie Murray reduced arrears to the minimum on 38 minutes before Leonard replied. 

However, Waterford were growing in influence and finally hit the run that preserved their top-flight status and sent Galway back to Division 2 for the first time in 10 years. 

Scorers – Waterford: K Murray 0-3, L McGregor 0-3 (2f), KA Hogan 0-2 (2f), C Walsh 0-1, E Murray 0-1, Á O’Neill 0-1. Galway: R Leonard 0-3 (3f), S Hynes 0-2, E Reaney 0-2, L Coen 0-1, O Divilly 0-1. 

WATERFORD: E O’Brien; H Power, A McNulty, K McGrath; A O’Neill, C Carroll, E Power; E Murray, K Murray; A Fitzgerald, M O’Brien, KA Hogan; L O’Shea, C Walsh, L McGregor. Subs: A Murray for Fitzgerald (17), C Murray for O’Shea (24), C McCarthy for O’Brien (30 mins), O’Brien for C Murray (HT), O’Shea for McCarthy (HT), Fitzgerald for O’Shea (38), A Brazil for O’Brien (56), C Murray for McGregor (60), McCarthy for Fitzgerald (60). 

GALWAY: D Gower; M Jordan, S Ni Loingsigh, E Gavin; K Geraghty, N Ward, C Cooney; M Glynn, A Davoren; O Divilly, S Hynes, M Walsh; L Coen, R Leonard, E Reaney. Subs: A Trill for Walsh (27), A Ni Cheallaigh for Gavin (43), L Booth for Reaney (55), C Cleary for Hynes (58), M Banek for Cooney (60). 

REFEREE: Maggie Farrelly (Cavan). 

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