Shane Walsh fires Galway to Connacht League glory

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Shane Walsh fired Galway to FBD Connacht League glory, hitting 1-8 to see off defending champions Roscommon at Dr Hyde Park.

The Tribesmen’s fully deserved six-point triumph handed Padraig Joyce his first silverware as senior football manager and provided a timely boost ahead of the start of next weekend’s Allianz Division One Football League campaign.

The damage was done either side of half time as Galway hit 1-7 without reply to swing the pendulum very much in their favour.

Niall Kilroy opened the scoring for Roscommon after the hosts had hit four wides inside the opening eight minutes.

The excellent Walsh got Galway back on level terms before Andrew Glennon bisected the posts from 40 metres after being set up by Enda Smith who was shown a black card later in the half.

Ciarán Lennon pushed Roscommon further ahead after Galway were dispossessed on their own kickout.

Michael Boyle pared the margin back to a single point, but Roscommon will feel they should have grabbed the opening goal when Richard Hughes’ effort, following an excellent move, just shaved the top of the crossbar.

Picture: INPHO/Evan Logan

When Donie Smith stretched the margin out to three points with a free from an acute angle, Roscommon were in a decent position. But Anthony Cunningham’s side lost their way as Walsh, Adrian Varley and Robert Finnerty began to win their battle with the Roscommon full-back line.

Two scores from Finnerty were followed by Walsh punishing the Roscommon indiscipline with a hat-trick of frees to leave Galway 0-7 to 0-5 ahead at the break.

Barely 30 seconds into the second half, Walsh won his side a penalty, which he converted, to firmly put his side in the driving seat.

When the captain tagged on another couple of frees to give his side a 1-9 to 0-5 lead, the game had well and truly been turned on its head, even though Galway had lost Cillian McDaid to a black card.

Ciarán Lennon’s 43rd minute free, which ended his side’s 20-minute scoring drought, ignited a mini-revival as the Clann na nGael player, with two further points, and Cathal Cregg reduced the arrears even further.

But, led by Walsh, Galway kept the scoreboard ticking over, despite losing Eamon Brannigan to a red card after the wing-back missed a simple goal chance.

Full-back Seán Mulkerrins and substitute Paul Conroy also got in on the scoring act to confirm Galway as champions as Roscommon couldn’t engineer the goal that might have saved them.

 

Scorers for Galway: S. Walsh 1-8 (1-0 pen, 0-6f, 0-1 mark), R Finnerty, P. Conroy 0-2 each, S. Mulkerrin, M. Boyle 0-1 each

Scorers for Roscommon: C. Lennon 0-5 (0-3f), D. Smith 0-2 (1f), R. Hughes, N. Kilroy, A. Glennon, C. Cregg 0-1 each.

GALWAY: R. Ó Beoláin; C. Murray, S. Mulkerrin, J. Duane; E. Brannigan, J Daly, C. McDaid; T. Flynn, C. Darcy; S. Kelly, F. Ó Laoi, M. Boyle; R. Finnerty, S. Walsh, A. Varley.

Subs: C. Campbell for Murray (5), P. Conroy for Kelly (25), G. O’Donnell for Boyle (50), D. Comer for Finnerty (53), D. Connelly for Ó Laoi (61).

 

ROSCOMMON: P. O’Malley; D. Neary; M. Richardson, D. Murray; R. Daly, N. Daly, R. Hughes; L. Mollahan, S. Killoran; N. Kilroy, E. Smith, F. Cregg; A. Glennon, C. Lennon, D. Smith.

Subs: C. Cregg for Mollaghan (37), H Darcy for F. Cregg (43), G Patterson for Neary (43), C McKeon for Glennon (50), D Ruane for Killoran (66).

 

Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo).