Wednesday 21 February 2018

Underwhelming Tribesmen set up Mayo clash

Galway 1-13 Leitrim 0-08

Galway's Damien Comer celebrates scoring his side's first goal as Ronan Gallagher of Leitrim looks on
Galway's Damien Comer celebrates scoring his side's first goal as Ronan Gallagher of Leitrim looks on

Galway have stumbled past perennial underdogs Leitrim in Pairc Sean MacDiarmada to set up a Connacht semi-final showdown against defending title holders. Mayo in Salthill on June 14.

But aside from the victory - their second in the Connacht series this summer - there wouldn't be many aspect of their performance which would have satisfied team boss Kevin Walsh.

But at least there is absolutely no chance of them being hyped ahead of their clash against five in a row chasing Mayo.

This was a truly awful game.  The favourites never really looked like losing though they coughed up four goal chances. Unfortunately for the challengers they  failed to avail of any of them.

Arguably the most crucial miss came 15 seconds into the second half when Donal Wrynn got clear of his marker but drove the ball across the face of the goal and wide.

Facing the elements in the second half Leitrim - who trailed four points at the break - really needed that goal to make a contest out of the second half.

Galway seemed content to simply play out the second half . By the 64th minute they had stretched their lead to seven points before Kevin Conlan had Leitrim's first score of the half - from a free.

Leitrim's only only score in the second half came from substitute Paddy McGowan two minutes from the end but by then the spectators among the attendance of 5,458 were heading for the exits.

One alarming statistic from a Galway perspective is that they conceded 29 second half frees which could have prove costly on another day.

Backed by a stiff breeze Leitrim were by no means overawed in the early exchanges.

Indeed, they ought to have scored a goal after four minutes when a  hopeful punt from Darren Sweeney hopped off the upright into the hands of Fergal Clancy but his effort was saved by Galway goalkeeper Brian O'Donoghue.

He was by far the busy of the two goalkeepers in the first half as he was called into action four minutes later when after another rebound he blocked a shot from Wynn and O'Donoghue made the best of his hat trick of saves in injury time when he blocked an effort at the near post from Ronan Kennedy at the expense of a 45.

By then Galway had found the net at the other end - with Damien Comer getting on the end of a Peadar Og O Griofa through ball in the 32nd minute to put the visitors in the driving seat.

Apart from his effort the Galway forwards came up short in the first half with five of their seven points coming from frees. But the visitors were still in control at the break (1-7; 0-6) despite Leitrim hitting two points in injury time at the end of the half.

But the second half never got out of second gear and Leitrim must now looked to the qualifiers - where they have only ever won one game - to salvage the season.

Galway: B O'Donoghue; J Duane, F Hanley, C Sweeney; L Silke, G O'Donnell (0-1), S Denvir; F O Curraoin, P Conroy (0-6, 5f); G Sice, S Walsh, M Lundy (0-1); P Og O Griofa (0-1, 1f), D Comer (1-1), D Cummins (0-2). Subs: P Sweeney (0-1) for Walsh 51m; T Flynn for O Curraoin 61m; A Varley for Cummins 65m; M Martin for O Griofa 67m; D Kyne for C Sweeney 71m; G Bradshaw for Devir 71m

Leitrim: C McCrann; M Murphy, R Gallagher, N Woods; S McWeeney (0-2) G Reynolds, T Mulvey; D Sweeney, S Moran; D Beck, D Wrynn, K Conlan (0-3, 2 45s, 1 f); R Kennedy (0-1), J McGrail, F Clancy (0-1). Subs: C Gilheaney for McGrail 41m; J Connolly for Mulvey 50m; P McGowan (0-1) for Moran 52m; B Prior for Murphy 55m; S Quinn for Wrynn 64m; A McLoughlin for Beck 67m

Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)

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