Kilkenny earned some measure of revenge for their Liberty Insurance All-Ireland senior camogie final loss to Galway last year by overcoming the champions in this year’s semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds by 4-12 to 3-7.
Niamh McGrath opened the scoring for Galway after five minutes but it was Kilkenny that got the bit between their teeth.
Denise Gaule had the Noresiders level from the next attack and wing-back, Elaine Aylward sent over a fine score to put them ahead.
Kilkenny were asking a lot of questions of the Galway defence and Mullinavat sharpshooter, Michelle Quilty pounced for a goal after 12 minutes to put some daylight between the teams.
The advantage soon stretched to six points but Galway remained composed and points from the McGrath sisters, Niamh and Orlaith, looked to have steadied the ship.
Kilkenny struck another major blow though when midfielder, Ann Dalton ventured forward to rifle a shot beyond Susan Earner with 10 minutes to go in the first half.
Aisling Dunphy added a point to put eight between them but Orlaith McGrath breathed life into Galway with a strong a smart finish for a goal to leave it 2-5 to 1-3 at half time.
Tony Ward had already introduced Aislinn Connolly and Ann Marie Starr in the first half but it was another substitute, Brenda Hanney who had the biggest impact after coming in at half time. The former skipper had a goal within five minutes of coming into the fray to put just two points between them.
Kilkenny switched Shelly Farrell and Katie Power and the move paid handsome dividends as Farrell responded to Galway’s increased tempo with a goal.
Galway showed their courage with another goal from Hanney, who was proving a real handful for Kilkenny, but the league champions have learned from last year’s experience and displayed commendable maturity.
They tagged on points to squeeze the life out of Galway and Gaule rounded off a very good final quarter on a personal level with a goal to put the issue beyond doubt.
SCORERS –Kilkenny: D Gaule 1-5(0-1f); A Dalton 1-3(0-1f); S Farrell 1-1; M Quilty 1-0; K Power 0-2; E Aylward 0-1
Galway: B Hanney 2-0; N McGrath 0-4(2fs); O McGrath 1-1; AM Starr, A Connolly 0-1 each
KILKENNY: E Kavanagh, M Power, K McDonald, J Frisby, C Phelan, L Fennelly, E Aylward, C Dormer, A Dalton, D Gaule, A Dunphy, A Connery, M Quilty, K Power, S Farrell. Subs: E Keane for Frisby, A Neary for Quilty, G Walsh for Connery
GALWAY: S Earner, T Manton, S Dervan, H Cooney, S Cahalan, S Healy, L Ryan, M Dunne, N Kilkenny, R Hennelly, N McGrath, E Kilkelly, O McGrath, AM Hayes, A O’Reilly. Subs: A Connolly for O’Reilly, AM Starr for Kilkelly, B Hanney for Hennelly, E Haverty for Dunne, G Glynn for Healy
REFEREE: C Egan (Cork)