by Daragh Ó Conchúir at Croke Park
It was a special moment for player of the match Pamela Greville, as she celebrated a stupendous performance in propelling Westmeath to a first Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship title with her 15-year-old daughter.
Greville, who turns 36 later this month, is well into a third decade of competing for the Lakesiders at adult level and has endured many dreadful occasions but to be contemplating Senior Camogie, two years after triumphing in the Premier Junior Final, with Stephanie by her side, not to mention her own brother Johnny, who was manager, was a dream come true.
“Senior Camogie – that’s been our aim for a few years now. It shows, when you put your mind to it what people can do. It’s a brilliant Westmeath team and I’ve loved every minute of being with them.”
It wasn’t looking good for them at half time as they trailed Galway by 1-8 to 0-4, with their vaunted attacking unit well marshalled by the westerners’ defensive unit and their own rearguard struggling to cope with the slickness of the Galway attack.
Ava Lynskey scored a brilliant goal and Rachel Monaghan was accurate from placed balls, after having a first-minute penalty saved by Méadhbh Scally.
But Westmeath never gave up hope.
“In the dressing room at half-time we said we’d been there before and come back. We had it in the tank. We didn’t give them space and we got the scores when we needed them.”
Greville had chipped away at the deficit, from play and placed balls, when captain Mairéad McCormack rose high to gather possession and goal at the second attempt in the 41st minute.
Westmeath’s tails were up and they gradually edged ahead, without giving Galway, who didn’t score in the second half until injury half, a sniff thanks to the efforts of Laura Doherty and Amy Scally to name just two.
Megan Dowdall didn’t get on the scoresheet but won frees and provided assists, while Sheila McGrath was threatening too.
“The workrate out there in the second half from goalie the whole way up meant Galway didn’t have the time to do anything and then we were breaking free. It’s always the scorers and forwards get the praise but this was about the whole team.
“I started a ridiculous amount a time ago and the dream of playing Senior Camogie was what kept me going. We’ll see how the legs handle it after the winter!
“To have Stephanie here is great, it’s very emotional – she’s not usually like this!
“We’re going to enjoy this. It’s been a long time coming.”
SCORERS FOR WESTMEATH: P Greville (0-9, 5fs, 1 45); M McCormack 1-0; N Horan, S McGrath 0-1 each
SCORERS FOR GALWAY: R Monaghan 0-4(2fs); A Lynskey 1-1; T Ruttledge 0-2; K Kennedy, N Horan (f) 0-1 each
WESTMEATH: F Keating, A O’Malley, M Scally, L Doherty, A Cully, F Leavy, Sandra McGrath, M Scally, N Horan, M McCormack, Sheila McGrath, M Dowdall, M Murtagh, P Greville, C McCrossan. Subs: A Doherty for Horan (37)
GALWAY: L Glynn, C Donohue, L Ward, L Brennan, K Screene, L Coen, D Higgins, L Casserly, M Mannion, K Kennedy, A Lynskey, R Monaghan, E Broderick, M Dillon, T Ruttledge. Subs: R Hanniffy for Broderick (48), N Horan for Monaghan (48), C Lee for Brennan (56)
REFEREE: Andrew Larkin (Cork)