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Having no time to wallow stands to Galway

Mon 08th Jul

Daragh Ó Conchúir


By Daragh Ó Conchúir, at Croke Park
Galway manager, Cathal Murray hailed his players for pulling themselves up by the bootstraps after a fairly abject performance against champions Cork in the final Group 2 tie at SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh eight days previously, to chisel out a 1-12 to 1-9 victory over Waterford in yesterday’s Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior camogie quarter-final.

That sets up a last-four clash with Tipperary at UPMC Nowlan Park on July 27 as part of a semi-final double-header that also includes the Rebels taking on Dublin.

Murray admitted that the quick turnaround from the 12-point defeat might have proved beneficial as there was no time to wallow. They had to get back on the horse.

“It was probably a tough week for us to to manage in a way,” Murray began. “It was a really bad defeat in Cork last week. But these girls showed their resilience and showed that character. And look, we did need the performance today. It wasn’t me said it, it was the players themselves. They did most of the talk during the week.

“There was no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We really needed to focus on Waterford straight away. The performance wasn’t good enough but that’s not just about us. That’s about Cork, how well they’re playing and and how good they are. Ger Manley’s done a serious job and they’re definitely up a level from last year and other teams haven’t reached that level yet.

“But listen, it wasn’t about Cork this week. It was about Waterford. We always knew they’d probably play a sweeper, probably keep it tight. So it was going to be frustrating at times. But look, at any time you go through to a semi-final by three points, you’re delighted.”

Galway led by 0-7 to 0-5 at the end of a cagey first half. An Aoife Donohue goal ten minutes after the restart helped the Tribeswomen move five clear but Beth Carton, hampered by a hamstring injury incurred in the third minute, blasted a penalty to the net mid-way through the final quarter to ensure a grandstand finish.

Though Déise goalie Brianne O’Regan reduced the margin to the minimum with a monstrous point from a free inside her own half, it was Galway that finished the strongest with points by Donohue and Olwen Rabbitte.

“That was tough battle,” confirmed Dervla Higgins (pictured above with Murray), who excelled in her duel with Abby Flynn and took time to launch a massive point in the first half into the bargain.

“After last week, I suppose the vibe was a bit low in the camp, and we knew we had to regroup, get ourselves together. We put the head down. We met, and we put the front foot forward. I suppose that we knew we had a performance in us. I think a lot of people wrote us off I we used that as a bond to drive us on that little bit more.

“Waterford are a tremendous team. They were in the All-Ireland last year. We knew we’d have to put in a performance. They threw everything at us. We were under pressure but the goal helped us an awful lot.”

Suirside manager, Jerry Wallace bemoaned the injuries to Carton, Lorraine Bray (broken hand), Vikki Falconer (quad) and Mairéad O’Brien (unspecified) and thought there might have been a bit of tension on their return to Croke after last season’s heavy All-Ireland final defeat.

The Cork native felt that progress had been made however, in terms of incorporating more of the minor squads that competed in All-Ireland finals this year and last year as well as in conditioning. And he is committed to continuing the journey after his maiden term.

“You just wonder where we a small bit apprehensive at times,” Wallace declared. “We seemed to be a bit standoffish early in the game like and I think we contributed to maybe three of their scores in the first half. We were coming out with possession and just rushed that offload.

“But I suppose we’re evolving and we’re developing and I think that’s something that we can work on in the future. A little bit more composure in releasing the ball, coming out with the ball.

“I think that there’s goodwill there between us, between the board and between the administrators and all of it, and myself and the players. It was a late appointment, so I only got a bit of a late start, but as I said to the girls in there, if we can all make an agreement again next year, I’d love to be there again.”

For Murray the concerns are more immediate.

“Let’s be honest,” said the two-time All-Ireland-winning boss. “Tipperary have beaten us twice already this year (including in the League final). They beat us last year down in The Ragg and that performance isn’t going to be good enough (against them). We know that in there and we’ve three weeks to work on it.”

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