Kerry 3-10 Galway 3-08
Paul Murphy reports
Kerry recorded an impressive win in the Al -Ireland Senior Championship Group C Round 1 clash against Galway, with two points to spare, 3-10 to 3-8, at the close of a close encounter.
The game was played in St Brendan’s Park, Birr and it was Galway who got off to the perfect start with a point from centre back Nicola Ward after an excellent run through the Kerry
defence. Despite the presence of two Galway defenders and the goalkeeper, Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh had Kerry level with a well-taken point following a long ball in by Anna Galvin.
Aishling O’Connell had Kerry in front shortly after with a fisted point following good work by Paris McCarthy and Danielle O’Leary. The sides exchanged points from Treacy Leonard and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh as Kerry remained in the lead midway through the half.
Ciara Butler pulled off a great save from Lynsey Noone after a Galway attempt at a point came off the post. Galway responded again and were rewarded with a goal approaching the 20th minute mark to open up a two-point lead, soon extended to three.
Kerry responded in the best possible fashion by working the ball upfield. Danielle O’Leary laid it off to Kayleigh Cronin, her long ball in found the on-rushing Lorraine Scanlon who expertly dispatched to the back of the net to draw the sides level.
Galway failed to score for the remainder of half as three frees from Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh saw Kerry go in at the break three points in front on a scoreline of Kerry 1-6 Galway 1-3.
Kerry got off to the perfect start with a point from Cáit Lynch at the beginning of the second half with a well-taken score. Galway, behind by four, hit three points from playto cut the gap to the minimum.
Kerry responded brilliantly, however, when a superb run by Niamh Carmody and patient play by Erica McGlynn and Danielle O’Leary saw Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh point for Kerry who raised their second green flag of the game shortly after.
A Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh free dropped short with Paris McCarthy on hand to fist into the net, edging Kerry five points in front with 10 minutes gone and very much in control.
Things got even better midway through the half with Eilís Lynch winning the ball in defence, Kerry worked the ball up field with Erica McGlynn finding Niamh Carmody who rifled a shot to the back of the net.
The Kingdom were nine points up with 10 minutes but Galway, to their credit, never gave up and, in a frantic finish. Kerry’s Lorraine Scanlon and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh both received yellow cards resulting in them seeing out the remainder of the game with 13 players.
Goals from Galway’s Louise Ward and Leanne Coen and a free from Olivia Divilly saw the lead reduced to two, ensuring a nervous finish but Kerry ran out deserving winners.
Their next game in the championship is on Saturday, June 25 at home to Westmeath and a win would see Kerry top the group.
Scorers: Kerry: L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 0-8 (0-5 frees), L Scanlon 1-0, P McCarthy 1-0, N Carmody 1-0, C Lynch 0-1, A O’Connell 0-1.
Kerry: C Butler, É Lynch, K Cronin, A Dillane, A O’Connell, E Costello, C Murphy, C Lynch, A Galvin, D O’Leary, N Carmody, L Scanlon, N Ní Chonchúir, E McGlynn, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
Subs: P McCarthy for Ní Chonchúir; S O’Shea for McGlynn; C Evans for O’Leary; C Ní Chonchúir for Dillane; M O’Connell for Carmody.
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