Yesterday in Salthill, Galway picked up their first points in this years national league thanks to Nicky Joyces 1-5 tally against the men from the North. Galway went into yesterdays game looking to redeem themselves after last weekends somewhat embarrassing 7 point defeat against the reigning Connacht Champions and believe me it may have been a lot worse. Switches where rife and no less then 9 changes where made from the team that played against Mayo and the team that took to the field in Pearse Stadium yesterday.
Monaghan opened the scoring in the 1st few minutes of play when Conor McManus broke through for the 1st score. Galway responded quickly however when Bradshaw and Joyce both scored ( A Free and one from play). It was a strong opening to the match when on five minutes Monaghan grabbed two more points to leave them one point ahead thanks to dangermen Paul Finley and Freeman finding the range for the visitors. Galway went on from there to dominate preceeding scoring five unanswered points from Breathnach, Sean Armstrong, a Michael Meehan free and two points from sharp shooter Nicolas Joyce to leave Galway 5 points ahead (7 points to 2). Monagahan responded however and scored two points thanks to Mc Manus again and Dermot Malone while Galway added another four scores thanks to Armstrong, Meehan and Breathnach who where again at their scoring best. The end of the half closed out with Galway leading by 5 points with Sean Armstrong getting the final score of the 1st half leaving Galway 12 points to 7 in the lead.
One criticism I would have as the second half unfolded is how Galway fell asleep and allowed Monaghan to slowly get into the game, Monaghan at the start of the second half scored 4 points unanswered thanks to the combination of Malone, Finley, McManus and Freeman. Michael Meehan responded for the tribesmen however with a point to leave Galway two ahead before Finley came back again to leave one point in it. But thankfully Galway began to run away with the game from there scoring the next six points without response with Meehan grabbing a hat-trick of points, Niall Coleman scoring one and Joyce and Paul Conroy scoring the other two to leave Galway with a healthy 7 point lead (19 points to 12). Galway finished out the game with a goal and a point thanks to Nicky Joyces eye for goal and an Armstrong point. Galway seen out the game from there to record a 6 point lead and got their league campaign back on track. Talking point undoubtedly from the Match was the Finley sending off who many believe shouldn’t have occurred. I dont know what peoples opinons of this is however.
Although I was not around for the game yesterday I have been told that Galway dominated the midfield battle which is no doubt a good sign for Big Joe as that was our downfall in Castlebar last week, if the midfield can come together then I have no doubt it will have a successful impact on this side. Scoring 1-20 in seventy minutes of competitive senior intercounty football is impressive with no less than seven of the Galway team scoring during the match. Gaelic football has turned into a game where ever member of the team has to be able to score from number 2-15 and although only one back scored for the tribesmen it was good to see that our attacking players are capable of scoring again (given the chance that is).
There was some changes to note from the team that was meant to start to the team that actually did, Cormac Bane from Caherlistrane was in for Mathew Clancy, Declan Meehan was replaced by Gary O’Donnell and Cillian De Paor made way for Fiachra Breathnach. One concern I would have however is why Galway switched off at the start of the second half of the match, Joe has to tell the boys to keep concentrated as the start of the second half is where the game can be one and lost. If Finley wasn’t sent off then one might wonder would the final score in the game be any different in favour of Monaghan?.
I am glad that Galway have got the league campagin back on track however and now we can build from this when we play Cork in the next round of matches. Up next for the tribesmen is the FBD League final next Sunday against Mayo. Time and venue tbc. Elsewhere in the National League Tyrone lost to Mayo in Omagh, Derry where downed by Dublin in Parnell Park and Kerry lost to Cork in an entertaining game to leave them bottom of the table along with Monaghan after the 2nd round of games. Mayo, Dublin and Cork see themselves top of the pile coming into the 3rd round of games.
I just want to take this opportunity to add in a few more things :
Well done to Portumna for making it to the All Ireland Senior Club Hurling final after a fine win against Dunloy of Antrim yesterday. Also commiseration to Mayo’s Kiltimagh (who knocked out our county representative An Spiddeal en route to the A.I Final) who lost the All Ireland Junior Club final to Castlegregory after extra time. Also just to remind you that you can listen to tonights Galway county senior and intermediate championship draws live from 8pm tonight on Radio Na Gaeltachta.