GALWAY 2-16 ROSCOMMON 1-13
What a difference a week makes, and while the quality of the opposition had changed, Padraic Joyce had to be heartened by the movement and energy of his team when they overcame Roscommon today (Sunday ). For the past week, questions had been asked of his team, but on Sunday, they produced a performance that dispelled any fears about their aptitude and ability.
Led by the experienced heads of Comer, Walsh and Conroy, the young guns in the team fired Galway to a deserved victory. But it was Finnian Ó Laoi and Rob Finnerty whose energy and accuracy drove a determined Galway to a victory that answered all the critics.
In these young guns, Galway have a bank of talent who have faced and bettered the best at underage levels over the past few years, and they, allied to the experienced heads give Galway fans plenty of grounds for optimism in the time ahead.
That test will come within a week when they face Dublin, but Joyce acknowledged afterwards that these league games are only being played at one tenth of the intensity that Championship will require.
“You would be proud of the lads, they did what we wanted, they worked hard, they put a bit of pride and passion back in the jersey which got the result they deserved in the end,” he said.
“They worked really hard, they did train hard all week. The only way after last week was up and in fairness they came up to produce the goods. They kicked 2-16 probably not playing as well as they can play, but we will take the two points.”
He said he was pleased at the huge positives from the game.
“A lot of lads played very well. Kieran Molloy got his first start, I thought he was exceptional. He nullified Enda Smith all the game, Finnian Ó Laoi came in to play the sweeping role and I thought he did really well. Paul Conroy was immense at midfield, Rob up front with his finishing, he did what he was supposed to do, and the lads at the back were very tight. I know Roscommon scored 10 or 11 frees, but you would question some of the frees they got at the same time. We are happy to get out of it with the two points.”
Next up are Dublin in Tuam next Sunday.
‘It isn't an easy game, it is going to be another juggernaut coming down the road at us full tilt. It is in our own hands, if we beat Dublin we qualify for a League semi-final, that is the approach we are taking towards the game.
As regards, today’s win, he said it cannot be used as an indicator as to how the Championship game will go in Hyde Park on July 4.
"It is League football, I'm sure the match on July 4 will be 10 times more intense than what that was. Roscommon are a good side, we know well they didn't really perform to the level they could perform, but maybe we stifled that a bit. We know July 4 will be 10 times tougher than that,” he said.
Galway got off to a cracking start after two minutes when after smart work by McHugh and Comer, Paul Kelly cut through from the right and fired a low shot to the net. It was just the beginning that Joyce’s team had needed.
Murtagh and Donie Smith replied with frees for Roscommon before the impressive Finnerty made the first of his key interventions in this game, catching a fine mark out on the right, and dropping the kick over the bar.
Finnerty was fouled two minutes later and Shane Walsh slotted over the kick to leave just a goal between the sides.
In a game strangely devoid of the niggle of previous encounters between these teams, Roscommon then spun into life and hit three unanswered scores, two from Murtagh and a free from Donie Smith to level the scores on the quarter hour.
Finnerty restored the lead but Galway almost got a goal when Walsh shimmied and cut through, only to see his shot saved off the line. A rising Comer punched the loose ball over the bar.
Another Walsh free sent Galway three clear again but Enda Smith’s storming run brought a score for the Rossies.
Two more Finnerty scores put Galway three clear but a late Donie Smith free cut the deficit to two points at the interval.
After the break, Shane Walsh hit two frees, with Donie Smith scoring in between. The dominance of the home team was at its zenith at this stage as they pulled away from their Connacht neighbours with Walsh, Comer and Conroy leading the way.
Silke had a glorious chance to goal when put clean through but his shot was at the keeper and the chance was cleared.
Galway thought they had shot themselves in the foot when they allowed Cian Murtagh to slip in behind the defence and beat a hesitant Bernard Power to the ball and palm it into the net.
But within a minute, Galway had replied in style when shot was fisted in by Tommo Culhane.
Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-7 (5fs ), Rob Finnerty 0-5 (1m ), Tomo Culhane 1-1, Paul Kelly 1-0, Damien Comer 0-2, Johnny Heaney 0-1.
Scorers for Roscommon: Ciarán Murtagh 1-5 (4fs ), Donie Smith 0-7 (5fs ), Enda Smith 0-1.
GALWAY: Bernard Power; Seán Kelly, Seán Ó Maolchiaráin, Jack Glynn; Kieran Molloy, Dylan McHugh, Liam Silke; Paul Conroy, Matthew Tierney; Paul Kelly, Damien Comer, Finnian Ó Laoi; Rob Finnerty, Eamonn Brannigan, Shane Walsh.
Subs: Peter Cooke for P Kelly (41 ), Johnny Heaney for Brannigan (49 ), Tomo Culhane for Tierney (62 ), Dessie Conneely for Finnerty (62 ), Ronan Steede for Comer (69 ), Gary O'Donnell for Molloy (70 ), Johnny Duane for McHugh (70 ).
ROSCOMMON: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Seán Mullooly, Gary Patterson; Richard Hughes, Niall Daly; Eddie Nolan, Tadhg O'Rourke; Conor Devaney, Cathal Cregg, Enda Smith; Donie Smith, Cian McKeon, Ciarán Murtagh.
Subs: David Neary for Patterson (29 ), Diarmuid Murtagh for Devaney (HT ), Conor Hussey for Hughes (HT ), Shane Killoran for McKeon (47 ), Conor Cox for Cregg (50 ), Niall Kilroy for Nolan (50 ), Hubert Darcy for C Murtagh (67 ).
REFEREE: David Coldrick (Meath ).