Tierney steps up to lead Galway to victory

Galway's Matthew Tierney wins a high ball in action from the Allianz National Football League game against Tyrone at Tuam Stadium on Sunday. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Galway's Matthew Tierney wins a high ball in action from the Allianz National Football League game against Tyrone at Tuam Stadium on Sunday. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Galway secured a much-needed win over Tyrone last weekend and now hope to follow up with a win over Donegal in Letterkenny on Sunday afternoon (12.30pm ).

With Damien Comer injured, Rob Finnerty only fit enough for the bench, and Shane Walsh on an extended break, there were concerns last weekend how Galway were going to produce the necessary scores to extract victory over a Tyrone team that had enjoyed a big win against Donegal in round two.

Matthew Tierney duly stepped up and produced the best performance of his Galway career to date. Scoring six points and winning countless kick outs, he showed that despite Galway missing their star-studded full forward line, there was still plenty of talent available. Paul Conroy kicked his customary couple of points and Cathal Sweeney impressed by kicking three himself after being introduced at half-time.

In Galway’s opening two games they had shown signs of struggling to hold onto a lead - Mayo producing a levelling score with the last kick of the game and Roscommon kicking the final five scores in their one-point win. Again, Galway conceded late scores, but only a goal would give Tyrone a chance, and as a result the Tribesmen were content to let their opponents kick a few points rather than breach the net.

Now Padraic Joyce’s team travels this weekend to face a wounded Donegal side. Having defeated the All-Ireland champions in the opening round of fixtures, Donegal have since suffered eight-point losses to both Tyrone and Monaghan.

With confirmation that captain Paddy McBrearty will miss at least the rest of the league season, Galway will feel they have more than a chance to make it a second win on the trot after last weekend’s performance.

Joyce has confirmed that Walsh will not be back in time for the game, and that Moycullen’s Neil Mulcahy, having made an impressive introduction to his inter-county football career, will also likely miss the rest of the league after having surgery on his wrist. However, the introduction of Finnerty off the bench, if only for a couple of minutes, would be a huge boost to Galway’s chances against Donegal, especially when with an extra weeks training in him.

His namesake Eoin Finnerty has long been seen as one of the best club footballers in Galway and but for numerous injuries, he would have played a huge part in his county’s successes in recent times. Currently injury-free, Finnerty has been given his most consistent run in a maroon jersey and, despite being taken off early against Tyrone, he has performed admirably so far this season. Finnerty will be eager to keep this going in Letterkenny on Sunday with himself and Ian Burke hoping to provide their management team with a headache when Comer and Walsh make their returns.

Joyce has continually said developing the squad is key to further success, thus the performances of new recruits Eoghan Kelly and Neil Mulcahy, along with the returning Burke and Peter Cooke, and a fit Eon Finnerty will add massively to the Galway squad. A strong performance and a win in O’Donnell Park on Sunday afternoon will prove that.


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