Improving Galway prepare for relegation play-off as Dubs too strong in the end

Sean MacMahon of Dublin, under pressure from Dylan McHugh of Galway during the Allianz Football League fixture match at St Jarlath's Park in Tuam, Galway. 
                   Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Sean MacMahon of Dublin, under pressure from Dylan McHugh of Galway during the Allianz Football League fixture match at St Jarlath's Park in Tuam, Galway. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Galway footballers must now prepare for a relegation play-off against Monaghan in two weeks' time in this year's Allianz Football League.

Padraic Joyce’s Galway charges just fell short of the mighty Dublin football team in Tuam Stadium last Sunday in the final round of this year’s shortened version of the National League, but now the Galway manager is less than impressed with the decision to make Galway travel for the play-off fixture.

Galway finished third in division one south, and their opponents fourth in the the north division, but Joyce has described the GAA's decree to award home advantage to Seamus McEnaney's men a joke after Monaghan had broken Covid training rules.

However, Joyce will have more pressing worries as he continues to plan with out Damien Comer who is sidelined with a hand injury. Avoiding relegation will be his priority, but Galway will have been boosted by their performance over Dublin after their first-round drubbing against Kerry.

The final scoreline of 2-16 to 1-15 was a fair reflection of the game as Galway ran the Dubs close for much of the game but in the end, the six-in-a-row reigning All-Ireland champions just had that bit extra in the tank and know-how to get over the line against a vastly improved Galway.

Galway started the brighter of the two teams as Peter Cooke beautifully curled the opening score of the game in the first minute. This score was soon followed by a Paul Conroy point - the result of Galway maintaining possession for more than two minutes and taking the right options in possession.

Brian Fenton got Dublin on the scoreboard with a simply taken mark, while Colm Basquel, who was on from the start in place of the injured Paddy Small, produced a sweetly struck effort from the left wing.

Robert Finnerty responded for the Tribesmen before the Dublin big hitters began to impose themselves on the game. Ciaran Kilkenny and Cormac Cotello grabbed a brace of points each, Con O’Callaghan notched a point, and Basquel scored his second as Dessie Farrell’s forwards began to find their groove. At the other end Shane Walsh kept Galway in the game from frees, 45s and a point from play as the sides entered the dressing-room at half time all square eight points apiece.

Dublin bolted out of the traps for the second half as their big guns Brian Fenton and Con O’Callaghan began to dominate. Cormac Costello kicked a beautiful left-footed score before O’Callaghan bundled the ball into Bernard Power’s goal, putting the Dubs in the driving seat.

Both Costello and O’Callaghan each pointed twice as Dublin began to overwhelm their opposition. Shane Walsh’s frees kept Galway in the game, but Dublin maintained their momentum with Fenton fisting his second point of the game after Dylan McHugh had powered forward inspirationally from centre back to hit the target.

It looked like Galway could turn the tide when a goal put just two between the sides. Paul Conroy floated an exquisite ball from midfield and the towering Matthew Tierney palmed into the net, forcing a nervy end to the game for the Dubs. However, Galway never kicked on from that goal and a late goal from substitute Aaron Byrne put more distance between the teams as Dublin ran out worthy four-point winners.

Galway’s best performer on the day was Peter Cooke who worked tirelessly driving forward at the Dublin defence, winning frees and also kicking two brilliant points from play. But in the end Dublin had more punch from the bench and more experience.


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