After their surprise defeat to Carna-Caiseal in the first round of the championship three weeks ago, some questioned Salthill’s ability to find the necessary hunger to challenge for another run at a county title this season.
Some of those questions still remain, but at least the county champions got their football season back on track and progressed to the last 16 with an easy and curative 1-16 to 0-11 win over Micheal Breathnach’s last weekend at Pearse Stadium.
Playing Micheal Breathnach’s in the second round was a good draw for Cathal McGinley’s team as it allowed them to work on their numerous deficiencies from their first-round defeat, while also giving some of their younger players more championship game time.
Significantly, it also allowed Seamie Crowe to return to full fitness, find his form and get back into the starting 15. His contribution to this win was noteworthy, posting 1-4 from the inside line.
His key scoring partner as usual was Seán Armstrong who had another good and productive outing, and he worked hard all through the contest.
Armstrong shot 0-7 (2fs, 1-45 ) and Alan Mulholland will be hoping his scoring prowess will be on full display again when the Galway seniors face Tipperary at the same venue on Saturday week at 7pm.
Micheal Breathnach's tried hard, but they always looked likely to be heavily outgunned in this joust.
They are now in a relegation dog-fight with Barna, Moycullen, and the losers of Killererin v Cortoon Shamrocks.
Based on their form over the past few years, one would imagine the Connemara men have the wherewithal to avoid that particular trapdoor, but they can take nothing for granted.
Last Saturday Salthill’s midfield partnership of John Boylan and David Tierney were dominant and they provided plenty of possession for the likes of Armstrong and Crowe to cause consternation in the Breathnach’s defence.
Salthill led by 1-8 to 0-5 at half time
Once Salthill reeled off 1-5 without reply midway through the first half, including a sweet volleyed goal by Crowe, which was created by a good run by Brian Conlon, there was going to be no way back for Na Breathnaigh. By half time the county champions led by 1-8 to 0-5 and the game looked over as a genuine contest at that stage.
A flurry of Salthill points in the second half by county u-21 player Gearoid Canavan and the creative Gary Cox sealed the deal for the Seasiders.
The losers had valiant performers in Colm O'Cuiv, Eoin O Coisdeabhla, Barraí O Conghaile, Gearóid O Fátharta, Seosamh O'Conaire, and Peadar O Cionnaith, who shot some very good scores in a personal tally of 0-7.
It was an easy enough run out for Salthill, but at least they got the rancid taste of their dire performance from their first-round defeat out of their systems.
They still look a fair bit away from a county championship winning outfit, but with two genuine scoring forwards like Armstrong and Crowe, they are always in with a shout.
Others who caught the eye included fit-again county captain Finian Hanley, Ruaidhrí McTiernan, Cian Begley, Gary Cox, Conor O'Halloran, Gearoid Canavan and both John Boylan and David Tierney.
Salthill-Knocknacarra: S Nallen; R McTiernan, F Hanley, C Begley; C O'Halloran, G Canavan (0-1 ), E Wynne; D Tierney, J Boylan; S Gavin (0-1 ), G Cox (0-2 ), B Conlon (0-1 ), S Hughes, S Crowe (1-4, 1f ), S Armstrong (0-7, 2fs, 1-45 ). Subs: C Connolly for Nallen (27 mins ), D Flaherty for Wynne (42m ), M Heskin for Hughes (47m ), K Conlon for McTiernan (51m ), B Malone for Begley (60m ).
Micheal Breathnach: E O Coisdealbha; K O Donnchu, P O Conghaile, G O Fatharta; C O Griallais, B O Conghaile, C O Cuiv (0-2, 245s ); F O Curraoin, S O Feinneadh; S O Conaire, D O Maoileain, S Denvir (0-1 ); SC O Feinneadh, P O Cionnaith (0-7, 4fs, ) F O Bearra (0-1 ). Subs: S O Maoileain for O Donnchu (19m ), E O Conghaile for SC O Feinneadh (40m ), A O Feinneadh for S O Feinneadh (44m ), O Ceallaigh for O Bearra (51m ).