Manager Padraic Joyce and his Galway senior footballers have won their first silverware of the year, thanks to a Shane Walsh inspired 1-14 to 0-11 victory over Roscommon.
It is the sixth year in succession these two sides have met in the FBD Insurance League final, and Joyce will be delighted with this as a first victory
Next up Galway take on Monaghan in Pearse Stadium on Sunday (2.30pm ) when they will look to make a winning start to their league campaign.
Although little significance is placed on the FBD League, there were encouraging signs for Galway ahead of next weekend’s league opener against Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney’s Monaghan side.
Galway were forced to make two late changes, with Conor Campbell and Michael Daly both picking up knocks during the week which ruled them out. They were replaced by the capable duo of Mountbellew-Moylough’s Colin Murray and Finnian O’Laoi of An Spidéal, who returned to the squad after his previous week’s exploits with NUIG.
Robert Finnerty also returned to the starting 15 after his exception performance with the Galway University. Joyce was given another early injury headache as Colin Murray suffered a leg injury in the 6th minute and was replaced by Johnny Heaney. It was great to see Heaney back on the pitch after the worry caused by his head injury suffered against Mayo in last week’s semi-final.
Roscommon had the better of the opening exchanges as Galway were slow adapting to the game. The Rossies led by five points to two at the 20th minute mark with Shane Walsh and Michael Boyle notching for the Tribesmen. Two quick-fire Robert Finnerty points brought Galway right back into the game before Shane Walsh began to take control of proceedings. The newly-appointed Galway captain struck three placed balls to give his side a 0-07 to 0-05 half-time lead.
The Walsh show continued when he bagged a goal from the spot, and he followed this up with another two frees which gave Galway an unassailable 1-09 to 0-05 lead.
It was this 15-minute blitz, during which Galway scored 1-07 without response, with Shane Walsh responsible for 1-5 of this tally that won Galway the game, aided by a black card for Roscommon’s talisman Enda Smith just before half-time.
Galway comfortably saw out the rest of the game with the highlight being young full-back Seán Mulkerrin popping up with a score at a crucial moment in the game.
With a personal tally of 1-08, Shane Walsh’s score-taking ability from play and from frees won him the man of the match.
Padraic Joyce, while pleased with some displays and the emergence of some new players, will undoubtedly have a few concerns ahead of next weekend’s test against Monaghan, particularly ill-discipline. For the second week in succession wing-back Cillian McDaid received a black card and it allowed Roscommon back into the game., while Eamon Brannigan also received a straight red for dissent.
Joyce also has a few injury concerns at the back, with both Conor Campbell and Colin Murray having taken knocks in a position in which Galway is already light with Eoghan Kerin recovering from an ankle injury.
Galway v Monaghan: Connor Gleeson, Johnny Duane, Sean Mulkerrin, Johnny Heaney, Gary O’Donnell, John Daly, Cillian McDaid, Tom Flynn, Cein D’Arcy, Michael Boyle, Paul Conroy, Michael Daly, Robert Finnerty, Shane Walsh (c ), Adrian Varley.
Women in action
This weekend marks the commencement of the 2020 Lidl National Leagues, and Galway will open their division one campaign against Waterford on Sunday (2pm ) in Corofin.
In camogie, two Galway sides are in action in the All-Ireland club championship semi-finals.
Sarsfields take on St Vincent’s of Dublin in the senior club semi-final on Sunday (2pm ) in Nenagh, while Carnmore face St Rynaghs of Offaly in Ballinasloe, also 2pm, in the intermediate semi-final.