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Captain Comer leads the way for Galway in stunning top-flight triumph over Tyrone

The Tribesmen won on a scoreline of 1-9 to 0-8.

Comer hit 1-2.
Comer hit 1-2.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Galway 1-9
Tyrone 0-8

John Fallon reports from Tuam Stadium

DAMIEN COMER CROWNED his first game as new Galway skipper with 1-2 as the Tribesmen shocked Tyrone in a hotly-contested encounter at Tuam Stadium.

Down referee Ciaran Brannigan was kept busy throughout but Galway led from start to finish against a Tyrone side who only managed three points from play and again failed to find the net.

But it was a perfect return to the top flight for Galway and they marked their first game in Division One in seven years with a thoroughly deserved win.

Galway led by 1-3 to 0-3 at the interval despite playing against the breeze in an action-packed opening half.

Comer gave Galway a dream start when he soloed through to drill a low ball to the net after just 16 seconds.

And he followed it up with an excellent point from play to give the Tribesmen the perfect start on their return to the top flight for the first time since 2011.

Tyrone struggled to get into the game and found themselves 1-2 to 0-0 adrift after seven minutes when Shane Walsh pointed a free.

Tiernan McCann finally got Tyrone off the mark with a point after 15 minutes but by the interval they shot eight wides to Galway’s two.

Conor McAliskey reduced the margin after 24 minutes but then Tyrone lost their other corner-forward Darren McCurry after an off the ball incident with Galway defender Eoghan Kerin.

Cathal McShane cut the gap to a goal at the break when he scored an excellent point from the left on the half hour.

McAliskey gave Tyrone a good start to the second-half when he pointed three minutes after the restart.

But Galway refused to panic and took control again with Eamon Branigan shooting two points to lead by double scores, 1-5 to 0-4, after 46 minuts.

Patrick Sweeney and Walsh extended Galway’s lead with good points before Matthew Donnelly gave Tyrone hope when he pointed after 55 minutes to cut the gap to 1-7 to 0-5.

A free from Peter Harte left four between them nine minutes from time as Tyrone rallied to save the day.

And a tight finish was on the cards when Harte cut the gap to a goal with a pointed free after he himself was fouled going through two minutes later.

A pointed free from Ronan O’Neill had Galway fans worried five minutes from time, but Galway finished strongly with points from Comer and Walsh sealing a deserved win as Mickey Harte’s 16th league campaign in charge of Tyrone started on a losing note.

Scorers for Galway: Damien Comer 1-2, Shane Walsh 0-4 (0-3f), Eamon Brannigan 0-2, Patrick Sweeney 0-1.

Scorers for Tyrone: Connor McAliskey 0-2 (0-1f), Peter Harte 0-2 (0-2f), Tiarnan McCann 0-1, Cathal McShane 0-1, Matthew Donnelly 0-1, Ronan O’Neill 0-1 (0-1f).

Galway

1. Ruairi Lavelle (Renvyle)

2. Declan Kyne (Clonbur)
3. Sean Andy O Ceallaigh (Leitir Mor)
4. Eoghan Kerin (Annaghdown)

10. Sean Kelly (Moycullen)
6. Gareth Bradshaw (Moycullen)
5. Cathal Sweeney (Killannin)

8. Paul Conroy (St James’)
9. Peter Cooke (Moycullen)

7. Johnny Heaney (Killannin)
25. Adrian Varley (Cortoon Shamrocks)
12. Eamon Brannigan (St Michael’s)

11. Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin-Clonberne)
14. Damien Comer (Annaghdown)
13. Patrick Sweeney (Killannin)

Subs

18. Padraic Cunningham (Headford) for Varley (52)
23. Tom Flynn (Athenry) for P Sweeney (60)
20. Johnny Duane (St James’) for Kelly (66)
24. Gary O’Donnell (Tuam Stars) for Brannigan (73)
17. Sean Armstrong (Salthill/Knocknacarra) for Walsh (76)

Tyrone

1. Niall Morgan (Edendork)

2. Michael McKernan (Coalisland Fianna)
3. Ronan McNamee (Aghyaran St Davog’s)
4. Hugh Pat McGeary (Pomeroy)

5. Tiarnan McCann (Killyclogher)
6. Padraig Hampsey (Coalisland Fianna)
12. Kieran McGeary (Pomeroy)

9. Padraig McNulty (Dungannon)
8. Matthew Donnelly (Trillick)

10. Conal McCann (Killyclogher)
11. Niall Sludden (Dromore)
7. Peter Harte (Errigal Ciarán)

15. Connor McAliskey (Clonoe)
14. Cathal McShane (Owen Roe O’Neill’s)
13. Darren McCurry (Edendork)

Subs

17. Mark Bradley (Killyclogher) for McNamee (20)
26. Ronan O’Neill (Omagh) for McAliskey (46)
23. Declan McClure (Clonoe) for McNulty (46)
25. Ronan McNabb (Dromore) for K McGeary (51)
22. Richard Donnelly (Trillick) for C McCann (57)
18. Lee Brennan (Trillick) for Sludden (68)

Referee: Ciaran Brannigan (Down).

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John Fallon

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