Irish Daily Star Division 1 League Semi-Final
Saturday 16th April in Birr
An injury time point from Niamh McGrath broke Limerick hearts as Galway edged into the Irish Daily Star Camogie League Division 1 final by 1-11 to 0-13 in an exciting encounter in Birr on Saturday.
Having knocked the All-Ireland champions out two weeks ago, John Tuohy's side faced the reigning League champions and defied the pundits expectations by pushing them all the way in a thrilling game that swung one way then the other in St Brendan’s Park in Birr.
When they get over their disappointment Limerick will realise that through this league campaign they have served notice that the progress of recent years is continuing and that they will be serious contenders when championship gets going later in the year..
Limerick opened the scoring but it was Galway who looked sharpest in the opening stages with Aoife Donoghue latching onto a dropping ball for an early goal.
But Limerick responded and indeed had the best of the first half. Dual player Niamh Richardson was dominant at centre-back, and Karen O’Leary and Deborah Murphy ran at Galway at every opportunity, drawing frees that were converted with customary accuracy by Niamh Mulcahy.
Limerick led by 0-7 to 1-2 at half time and when Niamh Mulcahy pointed from a free early in the second half, the margin had increased to three.
Limerick have out-pointed their opponents in every match this season but significantly they lost the only game in which they did not score a goal. So it was to be on Saturday, though they were not without chances, one of which saw Caoimhe Costelloe turn on goal and shoot for the top corner only for the shot to go inches wide of the post. On such fine margins can matches turn.
Galway came back into the game with Niamh Kilkenny getting four points from play sending the Tribeswomen two points clear but Limerick came back with three more scores from Niamh Mulcahy and the third, a prodigious effort from a 65m free, had Limerick ahead with 5 minutes on the clock.
Galway substitute Molly Dunne scored a fine point to equalise and it looked that extra time was beckoning but a late free in the third minute of extra time scored by Niamh McGrath decided the game.
Limerick will take a lot from this game and look forward with renewed confidence to the Munster and All-Ireland championship campaigns to come.
Claire Keating (Cappamore), Marguerite McCarthy (Ahane), Lorraine McCarthy (Bruff), Judith Mulchay (Ahane), Fiona Hickey (Granagh Ballingarry), Nimah Richardson (Murroe Boher), Rebecca Delee (Newcastle West), Mary O'Callaghan (Bruff), Karen O'Leary (Newcastle West), Deborah Murphy (Knockaderry), Muireann Creamer (Cappamore), Niamh Mulcahy (Ahane), Sinéad McNamara (Na Piarsaigh), Caoimhe Costelloe (Adare), Niamh Ryan (Bruff)
Limerick Scorers: N Mulcahy 0-11, C Costelloe 0-1, M Creamer 0-1
Galway Scorers: A Donoghue 1-0, N Kilkenny 0-5, N McGrath 0-2, A O'Reilly 0-2, M Dunne 0-1, A Callanan 0-1