Walsh turns on the style as Tribesmen show no mercy
Galway 3-17 London 0-7
GALWAY showed their intent by breaking London's spirit early en route to an easier than expected victory in Ruislip.
Under Paul Coggins, the Exiles have built quite a competitive record at home in the championship, being beaten by only one and two points respectively in their 2012 outings against Leitrim and Antrim – before that historic victory over Sligo last season.
The run to the Connacht final last year held further promise for London, but these heroics looked a long way off after Michael Martin hit 1-2 after only six minutes.
Man of the match Shane Walsh had hit the opener for Galway after only 15 seconds and, trailing 1-3 to 0-0, the hill couldn't have been steeper for London.
The Exiles took to the field with six Galway natives and former 'keeper Adrian Faherty was prominent throughout, shot-stopping, setting up attacks with some clever kick-outs and striking frees when the opportunity came on the cusp of the interval.
But it was symbolic of London's first -half performance that the furthest man from the attack was the most potent.
All the while Galway pressed relentlessly. London simply could not cope with their pace and Danny Cummins, along with Walsh and Martin, were to the fore, with full-forward Eddie Hoare getting in on the act in the second period.
As half-time approached Galway had kept London scoreless and it appeared as though they would go in at the break having failed to register.
When Faherty did convert a free on 34 minutes, it was met with an ironic cheer from the crowd – the loudest of the afternoon.
Last season's All Star nominee Lorcan Mulvey made a difference when introduced at the interval, but London had nothing but pride to play for at this stage. Walsh, Martin, Cummins, et al, just continued to make hay, all three finishing with maximums to their name.
That they arrived with the minimum of fuss made it all feel very pedestrian and tough to swallow for London.
"It wasn't (a championship contest in terms of intensity). I think the stuffing was knocked out of London after the first 10 or 15 minutes," said Galway manager Alan Mulholland.
"We knew they'd target the early part of the game to try and lay down a marker and we took that away from them with the early scores. That probably knocked them back in terms of confidence.
"We knew coming over here we'd a job to do and we were going to have to perform very well to win, so we left no stone unturned in terms of preparation for this game. long as we keep the lid on this now and make sure that no one gets carried away. The intensity wasn't quite there, so we are going to have to have our heads screwed on for the visit to Markievicz Park."
Having experienced such exhilarating highs in the championship last summer, this was a significant low for Exiles manager Paul Coggins, who must try and lift his side ahead of the qualifiers.
"I think Galway played very well there," said the Roscommon native.
"They came over, did a job and did it very well and look at times we were in a battle with them, but they were a lot more composed than us and they took their scores well – the last goal was a bit of a killer, but I think they are a very good team. I think they did very well and I think they deserved their victory."
Scorers – Galway: S Walsh 1-6 (2fs, 1 '45'), M Martin (1f), D Cummins 1-3 each, E Hoare 0-3, M Lundy, A Varley 0-1 each. London: A Faherty (3f), L Mulvey (2f) 0-3 each, J Feeney 0-1.
Galway – M Breathnach 7; D O'Neill 7, F Hanley 8, J Duane 7; G Bradshaw 8, G O'Donnell 7, P Varley 7; F O Curraoin 8, T Flynn 7; M Lundy 7, S Walsh 9, J Kavanagh 8; M Martin 8, E Hoare 8, D Cummins 8. Subs: G Higgins 7 for O Curraoin (47), A Varley 7 for Martin (51), D Comer 6 for Lundy (51), J O'Brien 6 for Flynn (57), C Mulryan 6 for Bradshaw (60), E Concannon 6 for Hoare (68).
London –A Faherty 8; P Butler 7, S Curran 7, D McCarthy 5; S Hannon 5, T Gaughan 6, M Walsh 6; M Gottsche 7, M Carroll 7; G Crowley 6, D Dunleavy 7, C O'Neill 5; E O'Neill 6, P Geraghty 7, J Feeney 6. Subs: L Mulvey 7 for C O'Neill (h-t), B Collins 7 for McCarthy (h-t), M Miskelly 6 for E O'Neill (47), S Mulligan 6 for Carroll (61), L Colfer 6 for Feeney (62), B Mitchell 6 for Walsh (66).
REF – F Kelly (Longford)
Game at a glance
Man of the match
Shane Walsh (Galway)
The Kilkerrin-Clonberne forward used his pace to devastating effect, cutting the London defence to shreds. Took his goal with aplomb in the second half, finishing with a tally of 1-6. At just 20 years of age, Walsh has a bright future.
None. Galway took the lead after just 15 seconds and they never looked back. By the 10th minute, they had hit 1-5 without reply and had ended the game as a contest.
London goalkeeper Adrian Faherty endured a difficult afternoon against his home county, but he was the centre of attention at the end of the first half.
Having finally gotten London on the scoreboard from a free, the Claregalway stopper produced a superb save to deny Michael Martin, and then raced down to the other end of the pitch again to kick another free right on the stroke of half-time.
Are Galway re-emerging as a serious force in Connacht football? They possess an array of talented young footballers, and their blistering start at Ruislip suggests they mean business this summer. Whether it will be enough to stop Mayo is another thing.
London felt Fergal Kelly sided with the visitors on a number of 50-50 calls, but this was a decent outing by the Longford official. He resisted the temptation to brand any cards until the closing stages, while there were no incidents that merited a black card.
What They Said
Paul Coggins (London manager):
"We probably didn't get enough early ball into the big lads inside, but look, Galway have a very good full-back line and a very good full-back able to deal with high balls, so there was no point playing to his strengths either."
Alan Mulholland (Galway manager):
"We got a goal very early, that settled us and probably knocked London back. We targeted the first 15 minutes as we knew that they were going to try to welcome us. We knew we were going to have to set a marker down and set the tone for the game."
London (6) 13
Galway (7) 11
London (10) 22 Galway (6) 17
London 1 (S Curran 57)
Galway 1 (J Kavanagh 55)
Galway will now travel up to Markievicz Park on June 21 for a Connacht semi-final date with Sligo. London must regroup quickly ahead of the qualifiers and hope they get a favourable draw.