Paul Corcoran reports from Eamonn Deacy Park
An early goal blitz was enough for Galway to claim the three points as they beat Treaty United 4-1 at a sunny Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday.
Lynsey McKey, Savannah McCarthy and Shauna Brennan were all among the goals for Galway with Rachel Kearns adding the final goal, and her sixth for the season so far.
Second-half substitute Áine Walsh netted her side’s only goal of the game with a well-worked move late on but it was too little, too late for Athlone.
It took just over ten minutes for the home side to get themselves in front after pinning Treaty back in their box for much of the opening minutes. Galway took advantage with four goals in six minutes.
Kate Slevin played the ball into the box from a corner kick, finding the head of Chloe Moloney, who managed to get up high enough and head the ball back across the box.
The ball fell for McKey, who didn’t hesitate to put her boot behind the ball with a hook shoot that sent the ball flying past Medbh Ryan.
Galway’s second came just four minutes later with Slevin, whose sister Emma became the first all-round Irish gymnast to reach a European final, causing more trouble with her set pieces.
The midfielder played another dangerous ball into the box and McCarthy arrived to meet the ball with some spectacular movement in the box to guide the ball into the back of the net.
Billy Clery’s side had the ball in the back of the net once more a minute later after some hard work by Rachel Kearns.
The striker won the ball in the final third before playing the ball to Sinead Donovan, who was waiting just outside the box.
The midfielder played a quick cross into the box and found Brennan, who supplied a quick left-footed finish into the back of the net.
Kearns got a goal of her own just one minute later after McKey beat two defenders on the right flank before playing a pinpoint cross into the box where the striker was waiting to nod the ball into the net.
Treaty United did grow into the game as it progressed and they had possibly their best chance on the hour mark.
Cara Griffin went on a mazy run up the field and managed to break the tackle of Moloney before rifling a shot at Trish Fennelly, with the goalkeeper making a good save.
Minutes later, Galway were at the other end with a great move started by Donovan who found substitute Aoife Thompson with a fantastic through ball into the striker’s path.
Thompson found Slevin right in front of goal but the ball became tangled in the midfielder’s feet and rolled wide of the goal.
The visitors will have been pleased to narrow the score line in the 77th minute after Niall Connolly’s side had worked hard to get back into the game.
Substitute Walsh took her chance when Emma Costelloe found her with a long throw on the left side of the box, a volley into the bottom corner leaving Fennelly no chance to react in time.
Galway should have had a fifth two minutes from time as another Slevin corner kick caused trouble in the Treaty box.
This time Shauna Fox met the ball and sent it high into the air. Ryan faiiled to control the ball and almost allowed it bounce into the net, but the visitors just managed to clear their lines.
Galway: Maja Zajc(Trish Fennelly 57); Chloe Moloney (Ruth Fahy 70), Savannah McCarthy, Therese Kinnevey, Shauna Fox (c), Keara Cormican (Elle O'Flaherty 70); Lynsey McKey (Tessa Mullins 70), Sinead Donovan, Shauna Brennan, Kate Slevin; Rachel Kearns (Aoife Thompson 46).
Subs not used: Elena van Niekerk, Aoife Walsh.
Treaty United: Maebh Ryan; Emma Costelloe, Alannah Mitchell, Tara O'Gorman (c); Jesse Mendez, Aoife Horgan , Rebecca Horgan, Olivia Gibson (Aine Walsh 46), Jenna Slattery; Cara Griffin (Lauren Keane 80), Aoife Cronin (Eve O'Sullivan 46).
Subs not used: Esra Kangal, Clodagh Doherty, Eimear Carey, Michaela Mitchell, Shannon Parbat, Anna Shanagher.
Booked: Eve O'Sullivan (48) .
Referee: Richard Storey.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Savannah McCarthy (Galway).