Galway banish memory of final defeats with All-Ireland win
Galway 1-9 Kilkenny 0-7
Galway ended a 17-year wait to take the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie title before 15,063 spectators at Croke Park this afternoon.
The Connacht outfit failed to score between the 39th and 57th minutes, but defended well and finished strongly with two late points from Niamh McGrath ensuring a five-point win.
Galway becoming the third county to pull off the Senior-Intermediate double following successes for Cork (2002 and 2006) and Wexford (2011).
Contesting their third final in four years, Galway came into this game off the back of an impressive nine-point semi-final win over Wexford, but for Kilkenny a final date was booked following a slender one-point victory over Cork.
This game got off to an explosive start with Galway having the ball in the back of the Kilkenny net inside the opening 90 seconds.
Galway midfielder Niamh Kilkenny watching her initial shot be batted out by Kilkenny keeper Emma Kavanagh, and although the rebound finished in the net, referee Ger O'Dowd had already signalled a free out following a foul on Edwina Keane.
Galway continued to work hard, but it wasn't until the ninth minute before they opened their account with McGrath pointing the first of her two first half points from a placed ball.
The sides were tied on two occasions inside the opening 17 minutes with scores firmly at a premium.
Both teams had just two points on the board at this stage, with Galway registering three early wides, while defences were also to the fore.
Heather Cooney halted Aoife Neary's advances on goal in the 19th minute, while at the opposite end a second McGrath point edged Galway 0-3 to 0-2 ahead.
Kilkenny rallied with two hard-worked scores, as the Cats defended brilliantly and worked the ball quickly into their attack.
Shelly Farrell and Aisling Dunphy helped Kilkenny to a one-point lead with five minutes to go before the interval.
But Galway were ruthless before the break with Ailish O'Reilly's 27th minute palmed goal helping them to a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
O'Reilly's major, coupled with a brace of points from substitute Noreen Coen handed Galway a 1-5 to 0-4 interval lead.
Kilkenny worked hard on the restart, but Katie Power's goal shot was denied by Susan Earner three minutes after the break.
However, Kilkenny crafted a score from the resulting clearance, with Elaine Aylward blocking Niamh Kilkenny and Ann Dalton capitalising to take a score.
Kilkenny continued to work hard, but injuries halted their momentum with the game held up on two occasions over the next five minutes, with Power and Galway's Brenda Hanney hitting the deck.
Galway responded with quick points from McGrath and Emma Kilkelly, to move 1-7 to 0-5 ahead in the 40th minute, but soon found themselves under major pressure.
The eventual winners weren't to score for a further 17 minutes as Kilkenny through everything at them.
Scores weren't to flow too easily for the Cats, with four wides inside a 15-minute spell, while they were also met with strong resistance from the Galway backs.
Centre-half-back Therese Maher put in a huge innings and worked tremendously hard to sniff out any chance of a Kilkenny score.
The Cats sought inspiration, with team captain Michelle Quilty entering the game with 14 minutes left on the clock.
The Mullinavat player was quick into the action, with her 48th minute pointed free leaving four points between the sides, after Dalton was fouled by Therese Maher.
Kilkenny continued to pile on pressure, and increasingly dominated at midfield, but found it hard in front of the posts.
Substitute Colette Dormer sent an effort wide of the target with 10 minutes remaining, but Quilty steadied the ship with her second pointed free of the afternoon.
Power was finding it tough in front of the posts, and claimed her third wide of the half and Kilkenny's fourth, with the Cats desperately in need of scores late on.
McGrath broke Galway's barren spell on the scoreboard with her third point, and although Kilkenny were gifted further chances, Galway held out for a well-merited victory with McGrath sealing a five-point win deep in injury-time.
After the game Galway captain Lorraine Ryan received the O'Duffy Cup from Camogie Association President Aileen Lawlor.
GALWAY: S Earner; T Manton, S Dervan, H Cooney; S Cahalan, T Maher, L Ryan; N Kilkenny, M Dunne; E Haverty (0-1), N McGrath (0-5, 4f), E Kilkelly (0-1); B Hanney, AM Hayes, A O'Reilly (1-0). Subs: N Coen (0-2) for Dunne (23); O McGrath for Hanney (60); AM Starr for Haverty (62).
KILKENNY: E Kavanagh; M Power, K McDonald, J Frisby; L Fennelly, E Keane, E Aylward; C Phelan, A Dalton (0-2, 1f); G Walsh, A Dunphy (0-1), K Power; S Farrell (0-2), D Gaule, A Neary. Subs: C Dormer for Phelan (21); K Hamilton for Walsh (40); M Quilty (0-2, 2f) for Neary (46); M Walsh for Gaule (55).
REFEREE: Ger O'Dowd (Limerick).