By Kevin Egan at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park
Galway manager Tim Rabbitte wants to see his side hit new heights against Cork in the Lidl National Football League Division 1 final after they eased past Donegal in the last four.
A blistering start and a strong second-half ensured Galway had far too much and when Megan Glynn finished off a great move with Galway’s goal after the restart they had a canter to victory.
Donegal had kept in touch though thanks to a Niamh Hegarty penalty, but Galway were convincing winners, which pleased Rabbitte ahead of the final in a fortnight’s time.
“We’re delighted by 45 minutes and then we’ve some things to work on, some of our decision making and our skills let us down again,” said Rabbitte.
“But when there’s something big on the line players might freeze and there was a small bit of that, but there’s always something to work on.
“The goal was to improve our performance and see where that brought us. We didn’t put any limitations on the squad either, we went out to play and see could we improve our performance all the time and we’ve done that.
“We won all our league games bar one, so we deserve to be in a final, and we just have to see can we put a better performance together for that.”
The Tribeswomen enjoyed a nine-point win when the two sides met in the round robin stages and Galway picked up where they left off, firing over three points in the first two minutes from Louise Ward, Róisín Leonard and Mairéad Seoighe.
Donegal’s first visit inside the Galway 20 metre line didn’t arrive until the seventh minute but after a foul on Geraldine McLaughlin, Hegarty slotted the penalty.
But Galway’s rhythm was unbroken and they quickly took control of the tie again, with cousins Róisín and Tracey Leonard on the mark with scores.
Galway led 0-9 to 1-1 at half time, and the sides added a point each through Amy Boyle Carr and Róisín Leonard before Galway effectively settled the tie when Glynn hit the net from close range in the 35 minute.
Donegal continued to apply themselves wholeheartedly and they enjoyed a brief spell of dominance when Niamh Hegarty, Geraldine McLaughlin and Karen Guthrie all pointed, but Maxi Curran admitted his side were outclassed.
“We have to accept reality, Galway were a far superior team on the day,” said Curran. “Their efficiency up front, their ability to get scores, their ability to build through the middle was all very good.
“They’ve a lot of mobility in their team and they’re a top senior outfit, genuine contenders for an All-Ireland.”
Scorers – Galway: T Leonard 0-5 (4f), R Leonard 0-4, M Glynn 1-0, L Ward, B Hannon & M Seoighe 0-1 each.
Donegal: N Hegarty 1-1 (1-0 pen, 1f), K Herron, AB Carr, G McLaughlin & K Guthrie 0-1 each.
Galway: L Murphy; S Burke, S Lynch, S Molloy; O Murphy, F Cooney, C Cooney; B Hannon, L Ward; O Divilly, T Leonard, M Glynn; M Seoighe, R Leonard, S Conneally.
Subs: L Coen for Conneally (47), R Ní Flatharta for Glynn (59), M Coyne for C Cooney (59), L Noone for Seoighe (60+1).
Donegal: A McColgan; N McLaughlin, E Gallagher, E McGinley; N Carr, AM McGlynn, N Boyle; K Herron, M Ryan; E Melaugh, G McLaughlin, S McGroddy; A Boyle Carr, K Guthrie, N Hegarty.
Subs: K McCleneghan for McGinley (h-t).
Referee: Brendan Rice (Down)