Galway keep composure to edge out 14-man Kildare in close encounter
Galway 0-19 Kildare 0-16
Galway all but ended Kildare's interest in the championship after a pulsating match in warm and humid conditions at Newbridge. But they were made sweat for their victory by the home team who played mot of the second half with 14 men after Daniel Flynn was red carded, after an incident off the ball.
In the four minutes of injury time points from Sean Kelly and Damien Comer, his third of the day, finally broke Kildare’s resilience after they had come from four points down to move within one of the favourites. Kildare now travel to Killarney next weekend but after successive defeats they must look to next year and build on a campaign that saw the reach the Super 8s and defeat Mayo in Newbridge, the highlight of their season.
Galway will be relieved to have emerged unscathed, and will look to improve in their final match at home next weekend against Monaghan. To their credit, they dug out the result when Kildare asked the big questions and found that bit extra when needed. Near the end Comer could have sealed the win when he was through on goal but Mark Donnellan pulled off a crucial save, having made another brilliant stop earlier to deny Shane Walsh. If Galway are to make further progress they’ll need to be more clinical.
Having already had to field without the injured Paul Conroy, they were dealt an early blow when Michael Daly had to leave the field after only ten minutes. Daly departed injured after scoring two of Galway’s early points when their movement looked capable of unhinging the home team’s defence, Ian Burke again a pivotal figure.
But Kildare were resolute and dogged and showed a talent for kicking big scores, even if one of those, from the boot of Daniel Flynn, looked to have veered wide of the left hand post in the first half. Flynn, Paul Cribbin and Fergal Conway each scored twice in the opening half, in a captivating battle in the dead heat.
By half time Galway had crept back in front 0-11 to 0-10, scoring the last three points, two from Shane Walsh, one a free, and the last a huge effort from midfielder Thomas Flynn. The teams were level on five different occasions and both sides had brief periods when they led in the match but could never enjoy much breathing space.
Galway made the more fruitful start, Daly kicking them ahead inside the opening minute, soon supplemented by a well crafted score by Peter Cooke, before Flynn opened Kildare’s account in the fifth minute, Ruairi Lavelle misjudging the flight of the ball, which hopped before going over the bar. Daly responded with a score in the eight minute, before going off, but Kildare settled and worked their way right back into the match.
Galway could have had two goals in the first half, with Daly’s replacement Patrick Sweeney twice denied, the first time by defender Michael O’Grady, who got a foot to his low shot after Galway put together an intricate passing movement, and then later in the half when his ground shot was saved by Donnellan. As the teams went off at the interval it was impossible say with any assurance who would go on to win.
Ten minutes into the second half Galway went 0-13 to 0-11 up with a fine score from Gareth Bradshaw and before play restarted the referee called over Flynn at the other end and served him with a red card.
Comer had the ball in the net three minutes later but it was ruled out, play called back for a Kildare free. With 15 minutes left Burke’s point gave Galway some measure of comfort, pushing them a goal clear.
Sub Gary O’Donnell opened a four point gap with 11 minutes left for the first time in the match but Kildare would not rest. Paddy Brophy scored in reply and two from Neil Flynn set up a grandstand finish. When Sean Armstrong pointed, Kildare replied again through sub Chris Healy to leave a point in it once more.
Niall Kelly fielded a high ball in the square in injury time which caused momentary alarm but Galway cleared and the late scores from Kelly and Comer saw them home.
Scorers: Galway - S Walsh 0-4 (0-3 fs), D Comer 0-3, M Daly, P Cooke, J Heaney, C Sweeney, T Flynn, G Bradshaw, E Brannigan, I Burke, G O’Donnell, S Armstrong, S Kelly 0-1. K
ildare - N Flynn 0-5 (0-3 fs), P Cribbin 0-3, D Flynn, F Conway, P Brophy 0-2, K Flynn, C Healy 0-1.
Galway: R Lavelle; D Kyne, SA O Ceallaigh, E Kerin; E Brannigan, G Bradshaw, C Sweeney; P Cooke, T Flynn; J Heaney, M Daly, S Kelly; I Burke, D Comer, S Walsh.
Subs: P Sweeney for Daly (inj 10 mins); S Armstrong for P Sweeney (51); G O’Donnell for Heaney (53); A Varley for Brannigan (b/c 58); J Duane for O Ceallaigh (66); F O Curraoin for Flynn (69).
Kildare: M Donnellan; P Kelly, M O’Grady, D Hyland; J Byrne, E Doyle, K Flynn; K Feely, T Moolick; F Conway, P Cribbin, K Cribbin; N Flynn, D Flynn, P Brophy.
Subs: N Kelly for Moolick (49 mins); C Healy for K Cribbin (53); J Murray for Kelly (58); D Slattery for P Cribben (62); E O’Callaghan for Brophy (b/c 67); F Dowling for Conway (74).
Referee: S Hurson (Tyrone).