Declan Rooney reports from Pearse Stadium
GALWAY MAINTAINED THEIR unbeaten run and qualified for the Division 1 final after Sean Armstrong conducted their powerful second-half showing against 14-man Monaghan at Pearse Stadium.
Armstrong only scored one pointed free, but all round him the Galway forwards flourished and a late Kieran Hughes goal only served to trim Galway’s winning margin.
The loss of Fintan Kelly just before half time on a straight red card had a massive bearing on Monaghan’s hopes, as their challenge collapsed in the third quarter and Galway pushed on to the win with Damien Comer, Johnny Heaney and Adrian Varley cashing in.
With both teams keeping things very tight at the back throughout, Paul Conroy was the first to break through with a point after 32 seconds, while point number two arrived after six minutes, when Barry McHugh converted a free.
Conor McManus was one of five changes to the Monaghan line up ahead of throw in, and he kicked his side’s first point from a ninth minute free, and Jack McCarron added Monaghan’s second point to level matters. A second McHugh free and a powerful point on the run form Damien Comer soon restored Galway’s advantage.
While being the team in charge of the first quarter, Galway only held a 0-5 to 0-3 lead by the 23rd minute – they kicked six wides with the wind advantage – and they were well punished at the other end as Monaghan kicked four points in a row, including two excellent efforts from Kieran Hughes to lead by two.
Just before half-time Monaghan were awarded a free and could have stretched that 0-7 to 0-5 advantage, but after he was fouled Fintan Kelly kicked out at Gary O’Donnell on the ground, which resulted in the free being reversed, and the Monaghan forward being shown a straight red card.
Galway’s response was impressive after the break with another Comer point straight from the throw in, and he almost hit the game’s first goal two minutes later when his shot for a point came back off the crossbar. But Galway soon took the lead when Shane Walsh and McHugh kicked scores, while McHugh’s fourth free pushed Galway 0-9 to 0-7 ahed in the 48th minute.
Sean Armstrong was one of Galway’s most incisive forwards after his first-half introduction, but a brilliant score from his fellow replacement, Adrian Varley, stretched Galway’s lead out to four, before McManus tapped over a free at the other end to end 22 scoreless minutes for Monaghan.
The one less man in the Monaghan defence clearly freed up some additional space in the second-half and after a McHugh free, a driving run from Declan Kyne resulted in the ball coming off the crossbar, but Johnny Heaney scored a point from the rebound and Galway ran out easy winners.
Scorers for Galway: Barry McHugh 0-5 (0-5f), Damien Comer 0-3, Johnny Heaney, Adrian Varley, Paul Conroy 0-2 each, Shane Walsh, Eamonn Brannigan, Seán Armstrong (0-1f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Monaghan: Kieran Hughes 1-3, Conor McManus 0-4 (0-3f), Jack McCarron 0-2 (0-1f), Rory Beggan 0-1 (0-1 ’45).
1. Ruari Lavelle (Renvyle)
2. Declan Kyne (Clonbur)
3. Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh (Leitir Mór)
4. Eoghan Kerin (Annaghdown)
23. Gary O’Donnell (Tuam Stars)
6. Gareth Bradshaw (Moycullen)
5. Cathal Sweeney (Killanin)
8. Paul Conroy (St James’)
20. Ciarán Duggan (Annaghdown)
7. Johnny Heaney (Killanin)
11. Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin/Clonberne)
12. Eamonn Brannigan (St Michael’s)
13. Patrick Sweeney (Killanin)
14. Damien Comer (Annaghdown)
15. Barry McHugh (Mountbellew/Moylough)
17. Seán Armstrong (Salthill/Knocknacarra) for Patrick Sweeney (9)
9. Peter Cooke (Moycullen) for Duggan (48)
24. Adrian Varley (Cortoon Shamrocks) for Walsh (49)
10. Seán Kelly (Moycullen) for O’Donnell (55)
22. Thomas Flynn (Athenry) for Heaney (69)
18. Frankie Burke (Annaghdown) for McHugh (70)
1. Rory Beggan (Scotstown)
4. Ryan Wylie (Ballybay)
2. Kieran Duffy (Latton)
3. Conor Boyle (Clontibret)
18. Karl O’Connell (Tyholland)
6. Paraic McGuirk (Sean McDermotts)
5. Vinny Corey (Clontibret)
19. Kieran Hughes (Scotstown)
9. Niall Kearns (Sean McDermotts)
12. Ryan McAnespie (Emyvale)
20. Neil McAdam (Monaghan Harps)
11. Fintan Kelly (Clones)
25. Conor McManus (Clontibret)
13. Jack McCarron (Currin)
26. Michéal Bannigan (Aughnamullen)
15. Conor McCarthy (Scotstown) for McManus (12-18, blood)
10. Dessie Ward (Ballybay) for Bannigan (36)
17. Drew Wylie (Ballybay) for McGuirk (44)
8. Darren Hughes (Scotstown) for McAdam (46)
23. Owen Duffy (Latton) for Corey (59)
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry)