Heaney leads way as Galway blitz Derry from trap to line
Galway 1-18 Derry 2-12
An impressive Galway were too slick for an under-par Derry in a real promotion 'four-pointer' at Celtic Park.
The Tribesmen ran out three-point winners but the final scoreboard, with Derry hitting two late consolation goals, flattered the home side markedly.
That Derry went in just three points down at the break was a surprise, given their disappointing and flat-footed opening half, which saw the Oak Leafers toil as they advanced. Whenever they did score, Galway would counter swiftly and directly.
Having trailed by a point early, Galway hit six in-a-row with six different players. Only a much-needed late rally where the home side hit three of the last scores, including Ryan Bell's third from play, saved Oakleaf blushes.
If Derry were poor in the first half, with manager Damian Barton serving an eight-week suspension and missing from the sidelines, they were worse in the second. Adrian Varley's 38th-minute goal handed Kevin Walsh's side a 1-11 to 0-07 lead. The Tribesmen hit four of the next five scores to all but wrap the game up.
The visitors attacked Derry from all sectors of the sun-kissed pitch, with rampaging half-back Johnny Heaney scoring four superb points from play.
Eamon Brannigan and Eddie Hoare scored three points for Galway, with Enda Tierney weighing in with a brace. Paul Conroy was the pick of the midfielders and knocked over two from play himself.
Derry managed two late goals through Emmett McGuckin and Niall Loughlin but by that stage the game was a dead-rubber.
The defeat leaves Derry travelling to Healy Park on Saturday night where anything but a win could see his side miss out of their key aim this year - a return to Division One.
Galway now pull level with the Oak Leafers on four points and manager Kevin Walsh flagged up his side's bright start which laid the foundations of a comfortable victory. "Obviously we came out and hit the ground running," he said. "This league is always going to be very competitive and it's very pleasing to come up Derry who have been going well and get the win."
Scorers - Derry: R Bell 0-6; S Heavron, N Loughlin 1-0 each; J Kielt (2fs) 0-3; M Lynch, B Rogers, E Bradley 0-1 each.
Galway: A Varley 1-1; J Heaney 0-4; E Brannigan, E Hoare (2f) 0-3 each; E Tierney 0-2; D Comer, L Silke, S Walsh (f) 0-1 each.
Derry - T Mallon 6; R Ferris 5, C McKaigue 6, K McKaigue 6; M Craig 7, G McKinless 7, D Heavron 5; E Bradley 5, B Rogers 7; B Heron 5, J Kielt 7, C McFaul 6; R Bell 9, M Lynch 7, D McKinless 5. Subs: N Loughlin for D McKinless (30), N Holly for R Ferris (HT), S L McGoldrick for B Heron (41), S Heavron for C McFaul BC (44), E McGuckin for D Heavron (50), C McAtamney for E Bradley (57).
Galway - M Breathnach 6; D Wynne 7, D Kyne 7, E Kerin 8; L Silke 8, G O'Donnell 7, J Heaney 9; S Walsh 8, P Conroy 8; T Flynn 7, E Hoare 8, E Tierney 8; E Brannigan 8, A Varley 8, D Comer 8. Subs: F Hanley for D Wynne (10), C Sweeney for J Heaney (61), P Mannion for E Brannigan (63), S Denvir for A Varley (70).
Ref - C Branagan (Down).