GALWAY 4-28 WATERFORD 3-23
Much had been made in recent weeks about Galway's profligacy in front of goal over these past few seasons, but such talk was dismissed in style this afternoon (Sunday ) when the Tribesmen hit four goals to secure a high-scoring victory against beaten All-Ireland finalists Waterford.
In a game played in splendid sunshine at Salthill, the teams scored a combined 7-51 on a day when the scoreboard operators out west were working overtime.
Afterwards, Galway manager Shane O'Neill said he was more concerned about the 3-23 they conceded than the 4-28 they scored, while livewire Galway forward Conor Whelan said the players as a group were not concerned about the lack of goals.
"I'd be just as happy to score 30 points and get the two points for the win rather than having a few goals in there," he said afterwards.
Whelan wasn't among the goals, but alongside Brian Concannon, he led the Waterford defence a merry dance, showing a remarkable workmate to fire over scores from all areas of the pitch, including from his own half.
It is hard to believe that after just two minutes, Waterford seemed to have this game well in their grasp, Jack Prendergast's goal giving them a four-point advantage that later grew to six.
It was five minutes before Galway racked up their first score, but O'Neill wasn't too concerned about this, saying that they had several chances to score before this, but lacked the composure to take them.
"We started relatively quickly but we had four wides. We had the chances to score but we didn't have the composure. That affected us for a bit because Waterford were the better side for the majority of the first quarter," he said
The Deise seemed good value for their substantial lead but in the second quarter, Galway penned them back to turn the seven-point deficit into a four-point halftime lead, helped by a Tuohey goal who fired home the rebound after Concannon's shot was saved.
Having found the net for the first time in three games, Galway got a liking for it and Concannon and Canning both netted to leave Galway clear at the break.
Hiutchison goaled for the visitors not long after the break to reduce the gap to the minimum, but this didn't bother Galway who scored at will to go five clear. A fine move incoming Canning's smart pass to Whelan set up Concannon for a fourth goal that put the result beyond doubt.
Afterwards O'Neill said that there were aspects of the performance that concerned him, but that they will be heading to Cork next weekend to finish the league in style.
"We had to be conscious of the need after half time to keep it going because we had been six or seven points down. The disappointing aspect of the second half would be the second quarter when they had six scores on the bounce and we didn't have any reply, so that's something as well we are going to have to look at," he said.
Dismissing talk that next week's round will have the feeling of friendlies about it, he said that there'll be boithing friendly coming their way Leeside.
"We will be taking the game against Cork seriously. They rested a lot of players last night against Limerick so they will be trying to finish the league strongly and we will be trying to do something similar.
He said he was pleased with the movement of Joe Canning.
"You have to be fluid in the modern game. It is probably only a six and a goalkeeper who actually stay in and around where they are originally picked. Everyone else has to be fluid or they will be exposed. Joe did well outside and inside and overall, I am happy enough.'
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 1-8 (4fs, 1 sideline ), Brian Concannon 2-2, Conor Whelan 0-6, Evan Niland 0-4, Adrian Tuohey 1-0, Conor Cooney 0-3, Seán Loftus and Cathal Mannion 0-2 each, Daithí Burke 0-1.
Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-8 (6fs, 1 65 ), Dessie Hutchinson and Jack Prendergast 1-2 each, Calum Lyons 0-5, Shane Bennett 1-1, Jamie Barron, Kieran Bennett, Neil Montgomery, Jamie Barron, and Patrick Curran 0-1 each.
GALWAY: Eanna Murphy; Shane Cooney, Gearóid McInerney, Darren Morrissey; Padraic Mannion, Daithí Burke, Fintan Burke; Johnny Coen, Joe Canning; Sean Loftus, Cathal Mannion, Adrian Tuohey; Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, Brian Concannon.
Subs: Evan Niland for Coen (30 ), Aidan Harte for S Cooney (35+4 ), Jack Fitzpatrick for Harte (38 ), Joseph Cooney for Tuohey (48 ), TJ Brennan for F Burke (60 ), Seán Linnane for Loftus (61 ), Kevin Cooney for Canning (63 ), Conor Walsh for Fitzpatrick (70+2 ).
WATERFORD: Shaun O'Brien; Conor Gleeson, Conor Prunty, Shane McNulty; Calum Lyons, Austin Gleeson, Seamus Keating; Jamie Barron, Jake Dillon; Neil Montgomery, Jack Prendergast, Kieran Bennett; Shane Bennett, Stephen Bennett, Dessie Hutchinson.
Subs: Jack Fagan for Montgomery (51 ), Patrick Curran for Dillon (54 ), Darragh Lyons for Shane Bennett (54 ), Billy Power for K Bennett (58 ), Kevin Moran for Gleeson (58 ), Peter Hogan for Prendergast (62 ), Shane Fives for Keating (67 ).
REFEREE: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary ).