The Galway senior footballers were well beaten by Armagh, 0-21 to 1-12, at the Athletic Grounds in Sunday’s final round of the 2013 league campaign.
Galway fielded without u-21 star Fiontán Ó Curraoin, who had played 80 minutes of championship football on Saturday evening, and his absence, along with Niall Coleman’s ongoing injury, left management short on options for the middle of the park and it showed.
Galway started with regular wing-back Gary O’Donnell and Anthony Griffin in the engine room, but they were never really able for Derry’s dynamic duo of James Lavery and Stephen Harold who shot three points from midfield.
The home side led at half time by 0-10 to 1-3 with Conor Doherty supplying Galway with some hope with a well-taken goal.
Alan Mulholland’s men enjoyed their best spell in the third quarter when some terrific finishing by Michael Meehan and Seán Armstrong brought the sides level at 1-7 to 0-10.
That was as good as it got though for Galway, and Armagh responded.
Inspired by Kevin Dyas, who shot 0-5 from play, Armagh ran out easy victors in the end.
They will play Cavan in the first round of the Ulster championship in the coming months, while Galway will face a solid Mayo side on May 19 at Pearse Stadium.
Mayo are in the division one semi-final this Sunday against Dublin, giving them at least one more outing before they turn their attention to Salthill in six weeks’ time.
Based on both side’s respective league performances and their championship form over the past few seasons, it is easy to see why James Horan’s men are hot favourites in many people’s eyes.
Galway scorers: S Armstrong 0-5 (2fs ), M Meehan 0-3 (2fs ), C Doherty 1-0, D Cummins 0-2, P Conroy, G Bradshaw 0-1 each.
Galway: M Breathnach, J Duane, F Hanley (cpt ), C Forde, G Bradshaw, K Kelly, G Sice, G O'Donnell, A Griffin, E Concannon, P Conroy, C Doherty, S Armstrong, M Meehan, M Hehir. Subs: D Cummins for Hehir (h-t ), G Higgins for O'Donnell (39 ), G Sweeney for Sice (45 ), M Martin for Concannon (53 ), S Denver for Bradshaw (64 ).