Paul Corcoran reports from Eamonn Deacy Park
Galway were given a real scare as Kilkenny United fought back from two goals down, but the home side managed to dig deep and find a winner to run out 3-2 winners on Saturday evening.
Sadbh Doyle and Ailbhe Clancy scored either side of half time to give the hosts a commanding lead but goals from Tara Long and Zara Lawless brought Kilkenny to the brink of their first point of the season.
Doyle’s second goal of the game, just three minutes after Lawless evened things up, proved decisive as Billy Clery’s side recorded their third win in four games.
Kilkenny came close to taking the lead in the opening five minutes when Lia Reilly stole the ball from Tessa Mullins in the Galway box after a great corner delivery from Leah F Doyle.
Reilly struck the ball well and was unlucky to see her shot strike the post and deflect away from the goalmouth.
The Galway Girls took this as a warning taking control of the game quickly and, only for a string of saves from Lauren Davies in the Kilkenny goal, the home side would have been out of reach by half time.
Five minutes from half time the home side finally broke the deadlock as Clancy played a corner kick outside the box to Sadbh Doyle.
The Kilkenny defence were taken by surprise and the midfielder smashed the ball into the net from distance with very little Davies could have done about it.
It didn’t take long for Galway to double the lead after the break with Ailbhe Clancy getting on the scoresheet three minutes into the second half.
Keara Cormican had found Aoife Brennan with a great through ball but the Kilkenny defence managed to dispossess the forward.
The ball was played into the path of the onrushing Clancy, however, and with Davies caught out of position she was able to slot a simple effort into the goal.
Kilkenny clawed a goal back ten minutes later as Lawless found the head of Anne-Marie Byrne in the box and her excellent header was pushed over the line by Tara Long.
On 63 minuters, Lawless struck a free-kick from distance and the bounce of the ball in the box seemed to catch Ria McPhilbin off guard and the ball ended up in the back of the net.
The sides weren’t level for long and three minutes later Sadhbh Doyle reclaimed the lead for The Galway Girls with another long range effort.
This time the midfielder’s shot was low and hard and nestled in the bottom corner for her brace and the winning goal.
Galway: Ria McPhilbin; Aoife Walsh (Sarah Baynes 71), Ailbhe Clancy, Shauna Fox, Keara Cormican, Chloe Singleton, Sadhbh Doyle, Leah Brady (Kayla Brady 71); Aoife Thompson, Aoife Brennan (Elle O’Flaherty, 80), Tessa Mullins.
Subs not used: Aislinn Meaney, Méabh De Búrca.
Kilkenny United: Lauren Davies; Aoife Brophy, Zara Lawless, Anne-Marie Byrne, Nicole Plunket (Leah C Doyle86), Naima Chemaou, Bronagh Kane (Kayla Cooling, 30), Leah F Doyle, Tara Long, Kerri Duffy, Lia Reilly.
Subs not used: Abbie Brophy.
Referee: Bartley Folan
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Sadhbh Doyle (Galway WFC)