Padraic Joyce’s Galway footballers overcame the challenge of Clare in Tuam Stadium in blustery conditions on Sunday afternoon.
The final scoreline of 2-08 to 1-05 was a fair reflection of the Tribesmen’s superiority which came to the forefront when the game was in the melting pot.
The victory over the Banner makes it five wins from five to date in division two and keeps Galway on track of meeting their objective of an immediate return to division one.
The most testing fixtures for Joyce’s side are to come in the next fortnight as they face fellow frontrunners in the form of Rory Gallagher’s Derry in Owenbeg next Sunday, followed by a trip to Hyde Park to play Roscommon the following Sunday. Fortunately for Galway, since Derry and Roscommon drew their fixture at the weekend, a win for Galway in Owenbeg will ensure their return to the top flight and a place in a league final. However, defeat will leave Galway needing victory over the Rossies to gain promotion.
Anthony Cunningham and James Horan will surely have been keeping a close eye on proceedings in Tuam on Sunday where Galway showed their mettle to get by a Clare side which is a well seasoned outfit under the stewardship of Colm Collins.
Clare played with the elements in the first half and began the brighter of the two. Yet again Galway succumbed to an early goal, which will surely infuriate management, as corner back Cillian Rouine breached the Galway defence.
However, the Galway players responded well to the early setback. Firstly Johnny Heaney, repositioned at wing forward on the day, shot an excellent score from thirty yards into the teeth of a breeze to open Galway’s account.
Clare grabbed a point through Eoin Cleary before Shane Walsh excellently set up Robert Finnerty with a ball over the top and the Salthill-Knocknacarra man made no mistake as he slotted the ball home at the near post. Damien Comer fisted over a diagonal crossfield pass to put his team in front, but when Robert Finnerty received a black card for a hand trip, Galway were on the back foot for the remainder of the first half. Yet, an Eoin Cleary free was all Clare had to show for the extra man as the sides entered the half time break 1-02 apiece.
Galway were much the better side in the second half, and attacked with more intent with the confidence of the breeze at their backs. The Corofin duo of Dylan McHugh and Kieran Molloy tapped over the first Galway points to give them control and when Damien Comer buried the ball to the back of the net soon after for his second goal in as many games, Galway never really looked troubled thereafter.
Clare did not pose much of a threat on the Galway goal in the second period, and their failure to convert scorable frees cost them a chance to be in the game at the pivotal moments. Galway saw out the game comfortably and look forward to Derry in a week’s time in what is a crucial fixture for Joyce’s men.