Harte helps Galway fend off Faithful
Reaching the league final is Galway's spring objective, but the peculiar manner of this victory means John McIntyre's team still have plenty of questions to answer in the crucial phase of the competition.
With exacting games against Kilkenny and Cork approaching fast Galway craved a positive result at Pearse Stadium yesterday, and a win was eked out despite a patchy display as the Tribesmen somehow allowed the Faithful back into contention late on.
Offaly, encouraged by last weekend's success over Dublin, were enthusiastic at the outset as Brian Carroll and the highly impressive wing back Derek Morkan pointed. Galway eventually settled though, and the teams were deadlocked at 0-3 each when McIntyre's side netted a goal.
Ger Farragher's sharp delivery was gathered by Aidan Harte, and the pacy attacker burst clear before supplying an opportunistic finish.
A spell of Offaly pressure featured points from Derek Molloy and Morkan, but Galway were in the groove in the second quarter and Farragher was splendid at centrefield, clipping over two delightful sideline cuts to send the locals in at the interval with a commanding 1-13 to 0-8 advantage.
Offaly narrowed the deficit in the 53rd minute when substitute Joe Brady goaled as Galway were unable to perform with the dash that had been evident initially.
Joe Dooley's improving side ploughed on defiantly until the end, and Galway corner-back Fergal Moore batted away a Joe Bergin goal attempt as the Tribesmen held on to keep their league aspirations alive.
Scorers -- Galway: G Farragher 0-6 (2f, 2 sideline cuts), A Harte 1-3, E Ryan 0-4, N Healy 0-3, C Donnellan, D Burke 0-2 each, K Hynes, R Cummins 0-1 each. Offaly: J Bergin, B Carroll, S Dooley (3f) 0-4 each, J Brady 1-1, D Morkan 0-2, D Molloy, R Hanniffy, C Mahon 0-1 each.
Galway: C Callanan; D Joyce, S Kavanagh, F Moore; D Collins, T Og Regan, J Lee; G Farragher, D Burke; K Hynes, C Donnellan, E Ryan; N Cahalan, N Healy, A Harte. Subs: F Coone for Cahalan (45), R Cummins for Hynes (54), C Dervan for Regan (70).
Offaly: B Mullins; J Rigney, D Kenny, M Verney; G Oakley, P Cleary, D Morkan; D Molloy, R Hanniffy; D Currams, K Brady, C Mahon; S Dooley, J Bergin, B Carroll. Subs: J Brady for Molloy (36), D Franks for K Brady (36), G Healion for Currams (45), C Parlon for Mahon (60), D Hayden for Oakley (65).
Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).