Monday 22 January 2018

Mulholland praises Galway's response

Neither Westmeath boss Pat Flanagan nor his Galway counterpart Alan Mulholland should spend too long analysing this encounter as it was one of those games where they could take positives and negatives in equal measure.

A draw then was probably the most apt result at Tuam Stadium in a game where Westmeath did not perform when they had the breeze in the first half, and where Galway failed to win despite leading by six points at the interval.

Both managers could take comfort from the way they responded in the second half, with Westmeath hauling Galway back before hitting the front in the final quarter.

But Galway also responded well at that stage and led going into the closing stages before John Heslin pointed a free three minutes from time to secure a draw.

"Last week we didn't respond against Louth, so it was encouraging this time that we at least hit back in the final quarter," said Galway manager Alan Mulholland.

"But you'd have to think that was a point lost. Going in 0-8 to 0-2 at half-time, you'd have to think we were going to push on from that. It was a bit disappointing straight after half-time; we conceded a lot of scores and allowed them to go two ahead of us."

Flanagan let fly at his misfiring men at the interval when they managed just two points with the breeze and trailed by 0-8 to 0-2.

"Basically, it was very simple. We weren't performing in the first half. We were letting Galway bully us around the pitch. We decided at half-time that we were going to get stuck into breaking ball, especially around the middle of the park.

"We got nothing around there in the first-half and the boys showed huge character to come back in the second-half."

The interval scoreline would have been very different had Galway 'keeper John Egan not saved superbly from Ger Egan and Callum McCormack.

Paul Conroy was Galway's main man, shooting three points in the opening half and also having a hand in most other good moves.

Michael Meehan, untypically, kicked three wides, but had the composure to recover and land a couple of frees.

Kieran Martin led the Westmeath fightback after the restart as they shot four points in succession, with the wing-forward getting two of them for a side without injured centre-back Paul Sherry and ace marksman Dessie Dolan.

Conroy again steadied Galway with a point before the crucial score of the game came when Ciaran Curley set Denis Cooroon up for a 54th-minute goal, which put Westmeath in front for the first time of a contest which really opened up in the second-half.

Galway sub Michael Martin kicked three points from frees in response to scores from McCormack and Denis Glennon.

Then Gareth Bradshaw edged the Tribesmen in front, but John Heslin secured a draw three minutes from the end when he steered a 20-metre from the left between the posts.

Both sides had chances for a late winner but a draw was the fairest result, which keeps the two of them in contention for promotion.

Man of the match: P Conroy (Galway).

Scorers – Galway: P Conroy 0-4; M Martin 0-3 (3f); M Meehan 0-2 (2f), G O'Donnell, M Boyle, E Concannon, G Bradshaw 0-1 each. Westmeath: D Cooroon 1-0, K Martin 0-4 (2f), C McCormack, D Glennon, J Heslin 0-2 each.

Galway – J Egan 8; J Duane 6, F Hanley 7, J Moore 5 (G Bradshaw 55); G O'Donnell 6, G Sice 6, G Sweeney 6; N Coleman 7, A Griffin 6 (F O Curraoin 62); J O'Brien 5, P Conroy 8, M Boyle 6 (C Doherty 55); E Concannon 6, M Meehan 6 (S Armstrong 65), M Hehir 5 (M Martin 49).

Westmeath – G Connaughton 7; M McCallon 6, K Gavin 6 (Damien Dolan 68), K Maguire; M Curley 6, D Harte 5 (J Gaffey 35), J Dolan 6; D Cooroon 7 (P Bannon 67), J Heslin 7; G Egan 6, C McCormack 7, K Martin 7; R Foley 5 (D Duffy 35), C Curley 6, D Glennon 6.

Ref – Marty Duffy (Sligo).

Irish Independent

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