Camogie: Kilkenny ignored burden of past defeats in final win over Galway, says Niamh Mulcahy

Kilkenny entered Saturday’s All-Ireland final against Galway, hoping to avoid losing a fourth consecutive decider.

Recent history likely weighed heavy on the Cats’ shoulders, but they did not allow it to show. Brian Dowling’s charges mounted an impressive second-half fightback to seal their first triumph since 2016.

“The first half was really tight and tense, but the second half opened up. And Kilkenny were just awesome, really took the game to Galway. There were brilliant performances all over the field, snuffed Galway out and took their chances,” Limerick star Niamh Mulcahy told Sky Sports.

“The key moment in the match was the penalty Denise Gaule scored. Fair play to her for going for it. She could have taken her point, and they would have held on. But once they hit the back of the net, you knew Galway were going to be under fierce pressure to get a goal. Kilkenny just snuffed out any half-chance they got.

“I don’t think you will see a better penalty all year. She followed it up with a tough free. Players stood up; Aoife Doyle was brilliant, Grace Walsh in midfield both attacking and defensively. But the Kilkenny defence were absolutely super. I thought before the game that Galway might have the edge with their forwards.

“But Kilkenny’s work-rate didn’t allow Galway to pick out passes into their dangerous forwards. They were just brilliant, and no more than they deserved. Brian Dowling did brilliantly to get the match-ups right. There was a lot of heartbreak in that team, losing all the previous finals.

“There was only one thing on their mind and that was winning. It didn’t matter what happened in the past. Fair play to them. They were absolutely super.”

It is an undoubted setback for the Tribeswomen, who were looking to defend the O’Duffy Cup. But Mulcahy has backed the Westerners to return in 2021.

“Galway performed really well themselves,” she said.

“It was Kilkenny’s intensity and work-rate that made life difficult for them. They have been brilliant champions. We’ve seen how hard it is to put back-to-back titles together. Galway are going to be a force again. Cathal Murray has done a brilliant job. And they will come back next year, all guns blazing, looking to regain their title.”

You can watch highlights of the All-Ireland Camogie Championship final at 8:30pm Monday on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Mix.

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