Aoife Doyle scores a goal so good that you'll have to watch it twice 2 years ago

Aoife Doyle scores a goal so good that you'll have to watch it twice

Kilkenny 1-18 Galway 1-15

If there's one thing every defender hates, it's free-wheeling, grass-burning and neck-breaking pace.


If there's one thing every defender hates, it's to walk onto the pitch, to look your marker in the eye only to find out that it's Aoife Doyle, because it must be around then when it registers that you're about to spend the next hour chasing her shadow.

The Piltown forward had one of those days last December, when she ran Galway ragged to score the five points from play that won the All-Ireland final and brought the O'Duffy Cup to Kilkenny. It's a new year, it's a new competition but it's the same wide-open Croke Park pitch and it was the same result on this June Sunday, as the fastest camogie player in the country ran like she was a mad at the grass to score the goal that won this game.

Having watched the first half, you'd have to say that it was Galway who looked the slicker, sharper and hungrier team. In midfield, there was Niamh Kilkenny hurling like the Player of the Year she once was while Catherine Finnerty and Sarah Spellman had enough pace and possession to frighten the life out of Kilkenny. That Cathal Murray's team only went into the interval leading by three points was a stroke of luck for Kilkenny and as it turned out, it was a let-off by Galway that came back to bite them.


As Tipperary found out last week, you don't let Kilkenny off and get away with it.

Because the All-Ireland champs started this second half like trains behind schedule. From three points down, you would only have to blink twice to see that the scoreline had completed the u-turn of all u-turns. Eight minutes into it and Kilkenny were leading by five. What the hell happened there?

For the turn-around, Brian Dowling could look to Mary O'Connell, who was hurling like her life depended on it. He could have looked to Denise Gaule, who was scoring points from so far out that you'd think she was pucking tennis balls. He could have looked to Meighan Farrell, who was leading like the captain she is but after all that, he'd have had to look at Aoife Doyle.


How could you even go about trying to stop that?

Galway didn't lie down and you'd have to compliment them for the fight that brought them back into this game but no matter how hard they tried, they couldn't stop Niamh Deely and then Steffi Fitzgerald from scoring the points that signed, sealed and delivered Kilkenny's fifth League title in eight years.


It's rare to see a goalie being named as the player of the match, but then again, it's rare to see a goalie pull-off the three jaw-dropping saves that Aoife Norris broke Galway hearts with. This was a team effort from Kilkenny, and it's fairly clear now that they're the team every other county in the country will have to set their minds to beating.