Compiled by Daragh Ó Conchúir
CATHAL MURRAY is looking forward to a “winner-takes-all” clash with Kilkenny on July 21st as a key indicator to whether or not Galway are All-Ireland challengers this year.
The Tribeswomen have long been the bridesmaids when it comes to the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship, and failed to build on winning the title in 2013.
Murray only took on the job as manager after the conclusion of the National League, replacing Tony O’Donovan and is Galway’s fifth boss in four seasons.
His charges top Group 2 with three wins from three games, while Kilkenny have an unblemished record from two.
Group winners progress directly to the Semi-Finals and that is what Galway are chasing.
“We feel we’re contenders for this All-Ireland and I suppose three weeks’ time is gonna prove whether we are contenders or not” said Murray after his side’s 3-14 to 1-11 win over Limerick.
“It’s gonna be a massive ask but we’re looking forward to the challenge.
“Confidence is high and we’re improving all the time. There’s a lot of things to work on but we’re very happy where we are.
“We targeted three wins at the start of the group, hoped to win the three of them and probably set up a winner-takes-all game against Kilkenny.
“Bruff is a tough place to come and Limerick played well but we’re delighted to come away with the victory.
“The two goals in the first half came at a good time and gave us a good platform. It was great to go in at half time eight points up. The workrate of the forwards really set the tone early in the game.”
Niamh Kilkenny returned from a finger injury to make a big impact and had a goal and point on the board as Galway led by 1-3 to 0-0 early on.
Laura O’Neill made a stunning save from Ailish O’Reilly but she could do nothing about Niamh Hannify’s strike, which brought it to 2-7 to 0-5 at half time.
Niamh Mulcahy scored 10 points for Limerick to join Tipperary’s Cáit Devane (3-15) at the top of the leading scorer charts with 24 points but Galway were comfortable.
Kilkenny got the better of neighbours Waterford in a close affair, 1-13 to 0-10. Annie Fitzgerald and Beth Carton had early points for the hosts at Walsh Park but Michelle Quilty goaled for the League champions and they led by 1-8 to 0-5 at the change of ends.
Waterford had goalkeeper Bríona Langton sent off early in the second half but Carton and Deirdre Fahey kept them in contention, although Kilkenny were never in danger of losing, points from grace Walsh, Katie Power and captain Shelly Farrell maintaining their advantage to the end.