Paul Cororan reports from Eamonn Deacy Park
Galway secured their place in the semi-final of the Women’s FAI Cup with a 1-0 win over DLR Waves under the lights of Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday night.
Chloe Singleton came off the bench to net the only goal of the game to send the Tribeswomen through to the semi-finals for the first time since 2019.
One of the big talking points before kick-off was the return of Rachel Kearns to the starting line-up for Galway.
Kearns lined out in maroon for the first time since April as the striker returning from a stint playing for the Mayo senior football team.
Stephen Lally opted for one other change from the 0-0 draw with Bohemians last week with Julie-Ann Russell coming into the team in place of Aoife Thompson.
Waves’ manager Graham Kelly made three changes to his starting line-up from their 5-2 win over Treaty United last week.
Niamh Prior, Rachel Doyle and Jetta Berrill all came into the side in place of Katie Burdis, Katie Malone and Catherine Cronin.
It didn’t take long for Kearns to be brought into the play, with Therese Kinnevey splitting the defence in the third minute and putting the striker in one on one with Eve Badana.
The Mayo native would have scored too, had it not been for the timely intervention of Niamh Barnes.
Meabh de Burca found the target in the 12th minute for the home side, with Eve Badana able to make a comfortable save.
The game settled down thereafter with the Tribeswomen maybe trying to force that final pass in the final third at times.
Waves, to their credit, started to come into the game more at this point with Jess Gleeson drawing a save from Leah Hayes Coen from long range in the 26th minute.
Rachel Doyle followed up with a free-kick three minutes later but although she kept her effort on target, Hayes Coen easily claimed the ball on her line.
Galway’s fourth corner of the game was almost the undoing of Waves as Becky Walsh flung herself at Shauna Brennan’s drilled cross only to send the ball inches over the bar.
A dangerous ball by Slevin from the right wing almost wound up in the goal when it struck Kearns and then Jess Gleeson before sailing towards the bottom corner only, for Badana to dive quickly and scrape the ball off the line.
The Tribeswomen had perhaps been the better side in the first half, but it was Waves who came out the stronger in the second half with waves of pressure going forward for significant parts of the second half.
It almost paid off for the Dublin side when Waves went very close to getting the ball in the net in the 65th minute when Nadine Clare found second half substitute Katie Malone deep inside the box.
The striker struck a strong shot from close range, but it was too close to the goalkeeper with Hayes Cohen making a good stop for the home side.
Stephen Lally’s side started to come back into the game midway through the second half and they could have gone ahead 16 minutes from time.
Second-half substitute Singleton found Slevin alone in the box, but the midfielder couldn’t get a clean strike on the ball to finish past Badana.
Singleton earned the title of super-sub just eight minutes later when Julie-Ann Russell won the ball in the middle of the park before playing a good through ball to the midfielder.
She took the ball deep into the box, coming in from the right wing before rifling off a shot into the far corner of Badana’s goal.
That goal was enough to take Galway through to the next round with the draw for the semi-finals scheduled to take place on Wednesday.
Galway: Leah Hayes Cohen; Shauna Brennan, Therese Kinnevey, Savannah McCarthy, Becky Walsh; Meabh de Burca, Lynsey McKey (Chloe Singleton 69), Julie-Ann Russell, Kate Slevin, Emma Starr; Rachel Kearns.
Subs not used: Hannah Walsh, Aoibheann Costello, Nicole McNamara, Elle O'Flaherty, Anna Fahey , Aoife Thompson, Abbie Callanan, Aoife Lynagh.
DLR Waves: Eve Badana; Niamh Prior, Jessica Gleeson, Aoife Brophy, Niamh Barnes (Avril Brierley 85); Rachel Doyle (Katie Malone 63), Fiona Donnelly, Nadine Clare; Carla McManus, Shauna Carroll (Catherine Cronin 74), Jetta Berrill.
Subs not used: Rugile Auskalnyte, Nicole Keogh, Ciara Maher, Kerri Letmon, Chloe McCarthy.
Booked: Niamh Barnes (57) Aoife Brophy (90).
Referee: Daniel Murphy.
extratime.com Player of the Match: Savannah McCarthy (Galway).