Galway forced to dig deep to see off brave Carlow effort in Salthill
Galway 1-24 Carlow 1-18
Galway were pushed to the pin of their collar by a dogged Carlow side before eventually running out six-point winners in their Leinster SHC round-robin opener at Salthill today.
Conor Cooney's early second-half goal pushed Micheál Donoghue's side into a nine-point lead but Carlow refused to wilt with Marty Kavanagh leading their charge.
His 60th minute free had them within three points of the red-hot favourites but a stuttering Galway side finished better down the home straight with Conor Whelan excelling.
Carlow were nearly in for a goal inside two minutes only for James Doyle's effort to be smothered out but the visitors still off to a flyer with Seamus Murphy and Marty Kavanagh (free) on target.
Niall Burke – deputising on the frees for the injured Joe Canning – was off target with his first effort but quickly atoned with his next placed ball before Davy Glennon levelled affairs in the eighth minute.
It was tit-for-tat for the next few minutes with Kavanagh showing good form for the Barrowsiders but Doyle's 15th minute point to tie it up, 0-5 each, would be their last for 13 minutes as the Tribesmen took over.
Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, Jack Grealish and two Burke frees saw the home side race into a five-point lead before John Michael Nolan broke their resistance with an excellent long-distance point from the right wing, 0-10 to 0-6.
Kavanagh kept Carlow in it with two further points before the break but the hard-working Brian Concannon made sure all six Galway forwards were on the mark with his injury-time point helping them into a 0-14 to 0-8 lead.
When Conor Cooney hit the Carlow net inside the opening 30 seconds, it looked like Galway would run out comfortable winners but Chris Nolan fired back at the other end just two minutes later.
The visitors had the gap back to three points on a number of occasions but they couldn't get any closer and Whelan came up trumps in the closing stages to see Galway pick up the two points.
SCORERS – Galway: N Burke 0-6f, C Cooney 1-3, C Whelan 0-3, C Mannion 0-3, J Flynn 0-3, B Concannon 0-1, D Glennon 0-1, D Burke 0-1, J Grealish 0-1, P Mannion 0-1
Carlow: M Kavanagh 0-12 (7f), C Nolan 1-1, S Murphy 0-2, J Doyle 0-1, JM Nolan 0-1, J Kavanagh 0-1.
GALWAY – C Callanan; J Grealish, R Burke, A Harte; P Mannion, G McInerney, K Hussey; C Mannion, David Burke; N Burke, J Flynn, B Concannon; C Whelan, C Cooney, D Glennon.
Subs: J Coen for Glennon (50), P Killeen for R Burke and J Hanbury for Hussey (both 54), S Loftus for Grealish (68).
CARLOW – B Tracey; K McDonald, P Doyle, M Doyle; E Nolan, D English, R Coady; J Kavanagh, S Whelan; JM Nolan, J Doyle, E Byrne; M Kavanagh, S Murphy, C Nolan.
Subs: D Byrne for Whelan (51), T Joyce for JM Nolan (63), R Smithers for J Kavanagh (66), Jon Nolan for E Byrne (68).
REF – C Lyons (Cork)