By COLM SHALVEY at Cloghan
Galway made it two wins from two outings in the 2019 Lidl National League – and claimed top spot outright in Division 1 ahead of Sunday’s games – thanks to a hard-earned win away to Monaghan.
Team captain Tracey and Róisín Leonard hit all nine of Galway’s points between them, while Sarah Conneally came off the bench to get their goal. A well-organised defence allowed Monaghan to battle to the end, but the Farney County suffered a second successive defeat of the campaign.
Galway had to settle for going in level at the interval after playing with the elements at a windy Cloghan, but despite scoring just twice from play over the hour, the TG4 Connacht champions got over the line to make it back-to-back wins.
Monaghan were first off the mark in the eighth minute via a Ciara McAnespie point, but Galway got the next two scores from a brace of frees by Tracey Leonard. Shauna Coyle brought Monaghan back on level terms with a good score and although another Leonard free edged the visitors ahead again, Leanne Maguire responded in kind.
Leonard’s fourth free of the half had Galway one up for the third time, but a well-taken effort by Muireann Atkinson brought Monaghan level at 0-4 apiece at half-time.
A Maguire free opened the second-half scoring, but frees by Tracey and Róisín Leonard regained a narrow lead for Galway. Cora Courtney got on the end of a dangerous centre from Ciara McAnespie to fist over an equaliser for Monaghan, only for Galway to hit back with 1-1 in quick succession. Róisín Leonard converted a second well-struck free off the ground and when Galway won the following kick-out, they quickly worked it forward for half-time sub Conneally to fire home the opening goal.
Monaghan got a lifeline three minutes later when a Maguire free from distance fortuitously dropped into the net, but a nice point from play by Róisín Leonard doubled Galway’s advantage. A good point by Rosemary Courtney kept Monaghan in touch, but they couldn’t add to their tally in the final quarter.
Róisín Leonard blazed a penalty high and wide for Galway, but Tracey Leonard tapped over a free six minutes from time, while Monaghan had goalkeeper Bridín Treanor sin-binned for dissent.
Scorers – Monaghan: L Maguire 1-2 (1-2f); R Courtney 0-1, C Courtney 0-1, C McAnespie 0-1, S Coyle 0-1, M Atkinson 0-1.
Galway: T Leonard 0-6 (6f); R Leonard 0-3 (2f); S Conneally 1-0.
Monaghan: B Treanor; H McSkeane, A McAnespie, N Kerr; C Treanor, C McBride, S Boyd; M Atkinson, R Courtney; S Coyle, C Courtney (Capt.), E McAnespie; E Woods; L Maguire, C McAnespie.
Sub: Abbie McCarey for C Treanor (60).
Galway: L Murphy; F Cooney, B Hannon, S Lynch; M Coyne, S Molloy, C Cooney; O Divilly, Á McDonagh; M Seoighe, T Leonard (Capt.), L Coen; R Ní Flahartha, R Leonard, L Hannon.
Subs: S Conneally for Ní Flahartha (h-t), E Gavin for B Hannon (42), L Booth for Coyne (50), M De Búrca for Coen (57).
Referee: G Corrigan (Down).