Walsh delighted with workrate after supersub Cummins seals the deal
Galway 1-8 Leitrim 1-5
It wasn’t until the introduction of Danny Cummins that Galway finally shook off the challenge of Leitrim at Tuam Stadium, but Kevin Walsh was satisfied to see a gradual improvement in his side’s early-season form.
Last weekend the Tribesmen stuttered past Sligo in their first run-out of the campaign, and it was much the same yesterday at a bitterly cold St Jarlath’s Park, but the manager was satisfied to see his young side put in a solid effort and edge a tight game.
Despite their second win of their group, Galway still need to beat GMIT next Sunday to ensure their path to the FBD League final against either Mayo or Roscommon, and they’ll need to be a lot sharper in front of goal if they do face one of their rivals in the decider.
Damien Comer, Adrian Varley and Eddie Hoare all fluffed good goal chances yesterday, and some of their shooting for points was wayward too. But once Cummins tapped to the empty net in the 48th minute after Gary Hickey denied Varley for the second time, the Galway win was ensured.
“Regardless of the result, the game was important for the young lads,” said Walsh. “It was great to see the lads were patient, there could have been a few more goals got, but the workrate was good, it was an awful lot better that last week.
“It’s about trying to find a few new fellas to go forward and fellas have put their names up there a bit.
“We have a lot of lads doing post-ops and lads with injuries, so there will be a chance for lads to play. What’s important now is next week, about guys showing it out on the field and that will have a big bearing for the start of the league.”
With conditions heavy underfoot, neither side managed to find their top form in this encounter, but Galway’s superior know-how saw them past their provincial rivals.
But the Tribesmen only impressed in patches. They started well with an excellent long-range score from Paul Mannion, before two frees from Hoare gave them a good lead.
After a couple of frees from the impressive Nevin O’Donnell, Eamon Brannigan found his range for Galway, but a super low finish from newcomer O’Donnell kept Leitrim in touch at half-time, only trailing by 0-6 to 1-2.
With the light breeze at their backs Leitrim started the second-half brightly as Emlyn Mulligan’s move into the edge of the square began to reap rewards.
Mulligan set up Shane Quinn for a point when there was a sniff of a goal chance, before Quinn returned the favour for Mulligan in the 35th minute and he scored following a great dummy to find room to shoot.
Adrian Croal gave his side a 1-5 to 0-6 lead in the 40th minute, but after the home side’s charity in front of goal, Cummins clinched the win when he fired to the net from close range.
“We were in control of that game for long periods but we just didn’t convert,” said Leitrim boss Shane Ward.
“We did a lot of good things out there. I thought we did really well at the back and defended as a group, which was our priority today. But up front we just didn’t convert.
“We did create the chances and crossed the halfway line on a number of occasions but we just didn’t convert.”
Scorers – Galway: D Cummins 1-1, E Hoare 0-3 (3fs), F Breathnach, E Brannigan, P Mannion, J Heaney 0-1 each. Leitrim: N O’Donnell 1-2 (2f), S Quinn, E Mulligan, A Croal 0-1 each.
Galway – M Breathnach; E Kerin, D Kyne, R Greene; A Kyne, D Wynne, F Breathnach; E Tierney, P Conroy; E Brannigan, P Mannion, S Denvir; D Comer, A Varley, E Hoare. Subs: D Cummins for Denvir (42), J Heaney for Breathnach (42), N Walsh for Mannion (52), S Ó Curraoin for Comer (56).
Leitrim – G Hickey; M Murphy, N Woods, M McWeeney; P Maguire, B Prior, S Quinn; S Moran, D Wrynn; N O’Donnell, E Mulligan, K Conlan; B Mulvey, A Croal, T Mulvey. Subs: C Gilheaney for B Mulvey (h-t), D Sweeney for Wrynn (44), J Rooney for T Mulvey (56).
Ref – L Devenney (Mayo).