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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 17 November, 2018
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Cora Staunton starts for Mayo but Galway win out to lift Connacht title

Captain Tracey Leonard inspired her side to victory in today’s provincial final at MacHale Park.

The Galway players with their trophy.
The Galway players with their trophy.
Image: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Galway 0-17
Mayo 1-12

Declan Rooney reports from MacHale Park

TRACEY LEONARD PLAYED a captain’s role as her six points fired Galway to a sixth TG4 Connacht senior title in the last seven years and victory over arch rivals Mayo at MacHale Park.

A Fiona Doherty goal and six points on a bright return to action from Cora Staunton kept Mayo in touch, but despite having Charlotte Cooney sin-binned during the second-half, Tracey Leonard and Mairead Seoighe kicked the winning points late on as Galway claimed back-to-back wins.

After winning the toss, Mayo captain Sarah Tierney elected to play against the strong breeze in a scorching Castlebar venue, and it was the Tribesgirls that made that most of that advantage early on.

Roisin Leonard got them off the mark after 29 seconds before Nicola Ward and Tracey Leonard made the most of gaping holes in the heart of the Mayo defence to kick scores.

Tracey Leonard Galway captain Tracey Leonard. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Following her late introduction to the team before throw-in Staunton’s first involvement was to balloon a fifth-minute free high across goal, but she soon found her target on the heels of a Niamh Kelly point to cut Galway’s lead to 0-3 to 0-2.

Galway continued to exploit the space in front of the Mayo full-back line and Aine McDonagh stretched their lead after nine minutes. That lead was four points by the 18thminute as Tracey and Roisin Leonard landed good scores, but a sweet Staunton point from distance kept Mayo in touch and they only trailed 0-9 to 0-7 at half-time.

Grace Kelly could have put a point between the sides straight after the restart but her free came back off the post, and it was Galway who then kicked on through Roisin Leonard.

Cora Galway Mayo's Cora Staunton. Source: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Staunton then took on the free taking duties from the right and got Mayo back in the game, and after Seoighe worked hard to score for Galway, Staunton gathered a break to score for Peter Leahy’s troops.

Niamh Kelly’s direct running saw Mayo close to within a point, and when Charlotte Cooney was sin binned in the 45thminute Galway faced a real test.

Galway responded with points from Sarah Conneally and Emer Faherty, but a stunning goal from Fiona Doherty pulled Mayo back to within a point with ten minutes remaining. Sinead Cafferky levelled matters with a great score four minutes from time, but Tracey Leonard and Seoighe hit two quick scores to put Galway out of sight.

Galway now go on to face Waterford and the losing Leinster finalists in the group stages, while Mayo take on the Leinster champions and Cavan.

Scorers for Galway: Tracey Leonard 0-6 (2f), Roisin Leonard 0-3 (1f), Mairead Seoighe 0-3, Emer Faherty 0-1, Nicola Ward 0-1, Olivia Divilly 0-1, Aine McDonagh 0-1, Sarah Conneally 0-1.

Scorers for Mayo: Cora Staunton 0-6 (4f), Fiona Doherty 1-0, Niamh Kelly 0-2, Grace Kelly 0-2 (1f), Sinead Cafferky 0-2.

Galway

1. Lisa Murphy

4. Sinead Burke
3. Sarah Lynch
2. Fabienne Cooney

7. Charlotte Cooney
6. Nicola Ward
5. Emer Faherty

12. Aine McDonagh
22. Caitriona Cormican

10. Olivia Divilly
11. T Leonard (c)
9. Ailbhe Davoren

13. Mairead Seoighe
14. Roisin Leonard
15. Leanne Coen

Subs:

Sarah Conneally for Coen (39)
Noelle Connolly for Lynch (39)
Louise Ward for R Leonard (54)
Deirdre Brennan for Davoren (60)

Mayo

1. Aisling Tarpey

2. Emma Lowther
3. Sarah Tierney (c)
6. Danielle Caldwell

28. Kathryn Sullivan
5. Rachel Kearns
7. Doireann Hughes

10. Fiona McHale
9. Clodagh McManamon

13. Niamh Kelly
11. Fiona Doherty
12. Sinead Cafferky

15. Grace Kelly
14. Sarah Rowe
25. Cora Staunton

Subs:

Orla Conlon for McManamon (55)
Marie Corbett for Hughes (56)
Shauna Howley for G Kelly (57)

Referee: G Carmody (Roscommon)

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About the author:

Declan Rooney

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