Second-half goals from super sub Laura Kelly and Olwen Rabbitte were the key scores as Galway survived a stern examination to overcome Meath in the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland intermediate camogie semi-final at UPMC Nowlan Park.
It was a measure of consolation for manager Cathal Murray and some of his players, who were part of the senior panel that Murray also led that lost its grasp on the senior title last night.
The Tribeswomen had been the dominant force of the group stages, scoring heavily and being miserly in defence but they were rocked after just two minutes by a fantastic Aoife Minogue goal in the second minute.
Meath had sprung out of the traps with good energy playing with the wind, and Minogue’s rasping goal was a wonder strike from an unlikely angle, after Sophia Payne had cut out a Galway clearance, ironically as a result of a Minogue shot for point that dropped short.
It was a first goal of the campaign conceded by the Maroons’ defence but their response was impressive, points from Niamh McPeake and captain, Tegan Canning coming quickly.
Amy Gaffney split the posts for Meath but Katie Gilchrist provided a cute finish to an outstanding team move for a Galway goal after Canning won possession. Katie Manning and McPeake were involved as the ball was transferred to Olwen Rabbitte and the corner-forward showed great vision to find Gilchrist, who batted first time to the net.
Gilchrist added a couple of frees and McPeake and Canning also doubled their tallies to make it 1-6 to 1-2 at half-time, Meath’s inefficiency in front of the posts putting a flattering gap between the sides.
With a strong wind at their backs, Galway would have been firm favourites to kick on after the restart but that was to reckon without the durability and doughtiness of the Royals.
Minogue and sub Kristina Troy halved the deficit but Galway put some space between them when Kelly goaled within a minute of her introduction, finishing from the rebound after Niamh McInerney, who came on at the same time, had struck the crossbar.
Kelly added a couple of points, one from a penalty, and though Meath got it back to a goal once more with Amy Gaffney scoring a fantastic goal, Kelly had the final say to cement the westerners’ final spot on August 7.
SCORERS FOR GALWAY: L Kelly 1-3(0-2fs, 0-1 pen); K Gilchrist 1-2(0-2fs); O Rabbitte 1-0; N McPeake, T Canning 0-2 each
SCORERS FOR MEATH: J Dolan 0-4(fs); A Minogue, A Gaffney 1-1 each; K Troy 0-2
GALWAY: F Ryan, C Starr, C Donohue, C Hickey, K Manning, L Casserly (capt), K A Porter, A Hesnan, J Hughes, S Divilly, K Gilchrist, T Canning, O Rabbitte, N McPeake, L Loughnane. Subs: L Kelly for Gilchrist, N McInerney for Divilly (both 40); A Kelly for Porter (50); S Corcoran for Loughnane (57)
MEATH: M Randle, S Payne, M Clince, S Leonard, T King, A Keogh, L Devine, E Burke, G Coleman, A Maguire, A Gaffney, A Minogue, O O’Halloran, J Dolan (capt), S Hackett. Subs: A Slattery for Hackett (22); K Troy for Devine, S Kealy for Maguire (both ht); R O’Neill for Clince inj (57); E Regan for O’Halloran (60+2)
REFEREE: Cathal McAllister (Cork)