Galway hurlers enjoy positive start to new season

Padraic Mannion of Galway, supported by teammate Jason Flynnn, shrugs off Aonghus Clarke of Westmeath in the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship quarter-final in TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar.

Padraic Mannion of Galway, supported by teammate Jason Flynnn, shrugs off Aonghus Clarke of Westmeath in the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship quarter-final in TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar.

The Galway hurlers will face Offaly in the Leinster semi-final on Sunday week (June 19 ) after their solid 3-27 to 0-19 victory over Westmeath at the weekend.

It was Micheál Donoghue and his management team's first championship game in charge of Galway and they will be pleased with the way the team approached the game and did a professional job, particularly in the first half, to set up a semi-final spot with Offaly, who were too strong for Laois in their quarter final joust.

Offaly were impressive in their win too and won that tie with Laois by 3-22 to 2-14.

Donoghue's panel arrived to Mullingar in a good frame of mind and from very early on it was obvious that there was no real chance of the underdogs springing what would have been a massive shock and when the Tribesmen lead by 0-17 to 0-5 at the small whistle the result had effectively already been decided.

What was impressive from the win is that Galway were clinical early on with a very fit looking Joe Canning involved in many of their early scores. That focus pleased their manager.

“Coming in to the game, we had to make sure we were in the right frame of mind and, in fairness, the lads worked very hard for the last two weeks and came well prepared," Micheál Donoghue says. " We’re up and running now and we put up a decent score which was pleasing.

“We probably got a lot more from the first half in terms of what we were looking for from the team. There was a lot of the second half that we’ll feel we need to improve on. But in fairness, it’s nice to go away with a win.”

Galway's only real concern from the outing was an off-the-ball injury to star forward Joe Canning, which saw his marker red-carded. However it appears the Portumna man will be available for the semi-final clash.

It also was heartening to see Conor Cooney back on the field of play, and his 0-4 from play was a good return for a player who has only recently returned to match fitness. He came on after 40 minutes when Canning was substituted.

The venue for the semi-final has yet to be decided upon but at the time of going to press, Tullamore was the likelier of the two. O'Connor Park is more accessible for Galway supporters, although the squad and their management team may not be happy to concede home advantage to Eamon Kelly's men.

In the other side of the draw, Kilkenny and Dublin are in action this Saturday in their semi-final in O'Moore Park in Portlaoise (7pm ). No doubt there will be a few Galway men at the game to study both sides.

Scorers for Galway: J Canning (0-8, 3 frees, 1 65, 1 s/l ); J Flynn (1-3, 1 free ), C Whelan (1-1 ), C Cooney (0-4 ), J Cooney (1-0 ); David Burke, D Glennon (0-3 ), C Mannion (0-2 ); S Moloney, N Burke, P Brehony (0-1 )

Galway: Colm Callanan, Johnny Coen, John Hanbury, Fergal Moore, Pádraig Mannion, Daithí Burke, Aidan Harte, David Burke (c ), Davy Glennon, Shane Moloney, Joseph Cooney, Joe Canning, Conor Whelan, Cathal Mannion, Jason Flynn. Subs, C Cooney for Canning (40 ), A Tuohy for P Mannion (52 ), K Hussey for Moore (52 ), N Burke for Flynn (56 ), P Brehony for Coen (63 ).

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