Galway top group after vital Derry scalp

Matthew Tierney in action for the Tribesmen last Saturday. His return further bolsters a much strengthened Galway outfit.

Matthew Tierney in action for the Tribesmen last Saturday. His return further bolsters a much strengthened Galway outfit.

Galway started their All-Ireland series with a bang last Saturday in Pearse stadium, seeing off Mickey Harte’s Derry with a five-point victory.

Galway won 2-14 to 0-15 thanks to second half goals from Seán Kelly and Céin D’Arcy. They will play Westmeath next during the June bank holiday weekend, knowing that a win will guarantee progression to at least a preliminary quarter final. However, top spot and a straight shot into the quarter finals is being kept firmly in their sights.

Galway scored an incredible 2-12 from play (with Derry scoring 0-13 from play ) in a more open game than many expected, due in part to a Gareth McKinless red card for a nasty stamp on Damien Comer. Galway thrived on being clinical and pressing at the right times, especially in the second half, while also crowding their defence and only allowing Derry to shoot from difficult angles.

Galway got their first goal from Matthew Tierney pressing Odhran Lynch’s kickout and getting a quick pass off to his captain. The Tribesmen’s second goal came from a quick break and smart play, as Derry had to try to force a goal for themselves late on.

Paul Conroy scored 3 great points from play and the elder statesman deservedly won player of the match. His midfield partner John Maher also deserves huge credit for his immense work-rate right throughout the game. His effort in the middle of the park helped Conroy to get that bit of space to influence the game in a positive manner.

Matthew Tierney made his first start since the league win against Tyrone and quickly showed his county what they had been missing. The Oughterard man won a number of kickouts in the first half and scored a lovely point. In the second half he did brilliantly to win a short Derry kickout and get a pass off while being fouled to set up the first goal. 70 positive minutes for Tierney will go a long way for his fitness levels and his county's aspirations.

Galway lost Kelly, Finnerty and Comer to injuries in the second half, but Padraic Joyce was more upbeat about the first two. Kelly and Finnerty noticeably consulted with their physio and management on a number of occasions before leaving the field, leading to the belief that if needed they could have continued and should be fit for the Westmeath game.

Comer played on for 20 minutes after the first half incident that led to the red card but was unable to continue. When asked after the game Joyce said “he got a nasty stamp on the ankle. He got on with that but it just gave way in the end”.

Galway supporters will be hopeful their full forward can make a quick return. Furthermore, it won’t put a long term dampener on a fabulous result.

The long awaited return of Cillian McDaid who also a bright spark for the maroon and white, as he entered the field for the final 15 mins of play.


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