Moycullen men boost Joyce's league options

Galway opened their 2023 league campaign with an evenly fought draw against near neighbours Mayo.

Having selected 10 of the team that started last season's showpiece against Kerry, Padraic Joyce was taking very few chances last Saturday evening.

Salthill’s Daniel O’Flaherty and Moycullen’s Eoghan Kelly and Neil Mulcahy impressed in defence on their league debuts, with fellow Moycullen man Gerard Davoren making his first appearance off the bench - one of the a huge representation from the country champions within the Galway squad for this first league game of the season. In total seven Moycullen men saw game time with five of them starting, most notably the three Kelly brothers, Seán, Eoghan and Paul.

Coming out of Castlebar with a share of the spoils is no easy feat. but manager Padraic Joyce will be disappointed at conceding the latest of scores to Mayo’s O’Donoghue to level the game. Had Cathal Sweeney’s clearance landed anywhere other than in his arms, referee Joe Mcquillan would surely have blown the full time whistle, but the Belmullet man struck superbly to give his side a point.

In an evenly fought game, with Galway edging it for most of the game, the introduction of Cillian O’Connor late on to try to salvage something for Mayo, despite his current lack of match fitness, showed Kevin McStay’s side was under immense pressure. A superbly struck Peter Cooke free and a Damien Comer free looked to have given the Tribesmen the win before O’Donoghue's late score.

Galway will now face Roscommon who enjoyed a huge win against Tyrone in Hyde Park last Sunday, their first win over the red hand in 20 years.

New manager Davy Burke has ensured his side delivered the start they needed after coming up from division two alongside Galway in 2022.

Having disappointed throughout 2022, and again in the Dr McKenna Cup this season, Roscommon will have targeted a win over an out-of-sorts Tyrone side.

Three well taken goals by the Rossies gave them a five-point win over the 2021 All-Ireland champions. Roscommon have for too long been overly dependent on the Smith and Murtagh brothers in attack, so watching 20-years-old Ben O’Carroll score the first two points of the game and finish his league debut with a fine goal will be a huge boost to the county.

With Enda Smith having a hand in all three goals and Ciaran Murtagh scoring 1-1 after being introduced off the bench, their influence shows no signs of waning just yet.

Galway will likely have to plan without corner forward Rob Finnerty after he injured his ankle in the first half, but hopes are high within the county that Ian Burke will be fit for Roscommon at the weekend - the Corofin man having not made the squad for the Mayo game.

Eoin Finnerty came off the bench and showed his worth when winning some hard balls, and also winning the final free that Comer scored.

A win against Connacht rivals Roscommon this coming weekend will greatly boost the Tribesmen before four games in a row against Ulster opposition. The game throws in at 2pm in Pearse Stadium on Sunday afternoon.


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