By Daragh Ó Conchúir at Páirc Uí Chaoimh
GALWAY will need to learn the lessons from last year if they are to overcome Kilkenny in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Semi-Final at Semple Stadium on August 18th.
That was the honest assessment of midfielder Ann Marie Starr after Cathal Murray's contingent racked up an eye-catching tally of 20 points in dispensing with Dublin in Saturday's Quarter-Final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Twelve months ago, Galway went into the Semi-Final game against Cork on the back of a hugely impressive win over Tipperary but left themselves a mountain to climb. Despite a much improved second half performance, they were unable to reel in the deficit however.
"It's down to what happens on the day" said Starr over a backing track of 'Number 8, number 8, number 8' delivered by a group of appreciative young Galway supporters.
"We were disappointed last year against Cork. We'd a good second half but we let it get away from us in the first half.
"We have to try and get a good start (against Kilkenny). We didn't last year and we couldn't claw back the deficit. We'll look forward to the challenge.
"We're delighted just to get the win. We knew it was gonna be a physical game. We wanted to prove a point. We were disappointed not to beat Kilkenny (in the round-robin) to get through to the Semi-Final directly.
"Dublin were very physical. You think you're gonna go down over a ball and suddenly there's an arm or something in and it's gone away from you. We found it very hard to get inside for a goal, everything was closed up.
"But we got 20 points and we held them to four which says a lot for the defence."
Team captain Sarah Dervan was a key element of that defensive effort, ably supported by the likes of Tara Kenny, Lorraine Ryan and Heather Cooney. Dervan was named Liberty Insurance Player of the Match and was pleased with the overall effort.
"It was a great team performance" said Dervan. "We always gave the ball to the person in the best position. Dublin shoved it up to us today, there was nothing in it in the first 20 or 25 minutes. It was a real dogfight but look, we know what's ahead of us now and we just have to knuckle down for the next two weeks.
"Some of the scores were fantastic by the forwards. They do the hard work up there trying to put it over the bar. Twenty scores is great - we'll have to be concerned about not getting a goal but that's something to work on over the next two weeks."
Dublin were still in the game at half time, trailing by just 0-7 to 0-2 but although they had plenty of possession, so many of their attacks floundered on the Rock of Dervan.
Carrie Dolan, Aoife Donohue and Catriona Cormican were multiple scorers for Galway in that opening period, with the latter duo sharing four from play between them.
In contrast, Dublin's scores came from Orla Beagan frees and the hard-working midfielder added another fine score from play to her tally in the second half.
But the attack didn't function, as evidenced by the fact that David Herity replaced them all, apart from Alex Griffin, who provided the fourth point.
Niamh Kilkenny was massively influential and scored one stupendous point as Galway kept the scoreboard ticking over.
Much was made of Galway's failure to score a goal but Dublin's defence deserve credit for that.
Significantly though, Galway had the ability to pick off the points from further out and finished with eight individual scorers. Niamh McGrath showcased her excellent striking once more and three of the subs also got on the mark to give Murray food for thought ahead of the clash with Kilkenny.
SCORERS FOR GALWAY: A Donohue, C Dolan (fs) 0-4 each; C Cormican, N McGrath (1f) 0-3 each; N Kilkenny 0-2; C Walsh, F Keely, S McGrath, Sarah Healy (pen) 0-1 each
SCORERS FOR DUBLIN: O Beagan 0-3(2fs); A Griffin 0-1
GALWAY: Sarah Healy, Shauna Healy, S Dervan, T Kenny, E Helebert, H Cooney, L Ryan, A M Starr, N Kilkenny, A Donohue, C Cormican, N McGrath, C Dolan, N Coen, A O'Reilly. Subs: S McGrath for O'Reilly (40), R Black for Helebert (46), C Walsh for Dolan (47), C Murphy for Ryan (55), F Keely for Cormican (55)
DUBLIN: F McCarthy, N Gannon, A Carolan, M O'Donoghue, H Hegarty, L Twomey, R Baker, O Beagan, E McCarthy, A Twomey, A Griffin, D Mullaney, S Kehoe, M Moynihan, E Flanagan. Subs: L Butler for Flanagan (30), S Nic Coitir for Moynihan (41), G Quinn for Twomey (48), A Maguire for Kehoe (56)
REFEREE: L Dempsey (Kilkenny)