John Fallon reports from Pearse Stadium
GALWAY WRAPPED UP a quarter-final spot in the Allianz League with a third win of the campaign against a battling Offaly side, who played the last half hour with 14 men.
An experimental Galway side were always in control as they cantered to an 11-point victory in Salthill.
They will play Dublin next week and then the following week look set for a promotion decider against Limerick at Pearse Stadium.
Galway led by 1-9 to 0-8 at the break having played with the breeze in the opening half.
Offaly needed a good start against the All-Ireland champions and they were good value for their 0-4 o 0-2 lead after seven minutes with Damien Egan, Dan Currams, David King and Shane Kinsella hitting the target.
Cathal Mannion picked off two points for Galway and then Joseph Cooney scored the opening goal when he finished a good move involving Conor Cooney and Davy Glennon aftereight minutes.
That lifted the home supporters in the crowd of 5,355 but the sides were level at the end of the opening quarter at 1-4 to 0-7 after Kinsella, Egan and Currams found the range for Offaly.
Both sides were guilty of some bad wides but Galway hit four points in a row from Sean Loftus, Paul Flaherty, Cathal Mannion and Conor Cooney.
Damien Egan pulled back a point for Offaly but a second point from former minor captain Loftus left Galway ahead by four at the interval.
The lead would have been bigger had Offaly goalkeeper Eoghan Cahill not produced good saves to deny Flaherty and Joseph Cooney.
It all went wrong for Offaly after the restart when Joseph Cooney got his second goal of the game after goalkeeper Cahill had blocked an effort from Conor Cooney.
And then Offaly were reduced to 14 men when Shane Kinsella was sent off after an off the ball tangle with Paul Flaherty — referee Cathal McAllister consulted two of his umpires before making his decision.
That left Offaly with a huge uphill battle as Galway opened up a 2-11 to 0-8 lead.
Substitute Tommy Geraghty landed a couple of points for Offaly but Galway kept pulling away as they picked off points from all angles.
Cahill produced another good save to deny Glennon and while Shane Dooley added a few frees for Offaly when he came on but they never looked like staging a big comeback.
Galway goalkeeper James Skehill saved a penalty from Dooley in the closing stages after Conor Mahon was adjudged to have been fouled as the Tribesmen made it three wins in a row in the campaign.
Scorers for Galway: Joseph Cooney 2-1, Conor Cooney 0-7 (0-4f), Cathal Mannion 0-5, Seán Loftus 0-3, Paul Flaherty 0-2, Niall Burke 0-1.
Scorers for Offaly: Damien Egan 0-3 (0-3f), Dan Currams 0-3, Tommy Geraghty 0-3, Shane Kinsella 0-2, Shane Dooley 0-2 (0-2f), David King 0-1.
1. James Skehill (Cappatagle)
2. Adrian Tuohy (Beagh)
4. Pádraic Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh)
3. Shane Bannon (Clarinbridge)
5. Shane Cooney (St Thomas’)
6. Gearóid McInerney (Oranmore-Maree)
7. Aidan Harte (Gort)
8. Johnny Coen (Loughrea) (c)
9. Seán Loftus (Turloughmore)
11. Joseph Cooney (Sarsfields)
10. Cathal Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh)
12. Paul Flaherty (Abbeyknockmoy)
14. Conor Cooney (St Thomas’)
13. Conor Whelan (Kinvara)
15. Davy Glennon (Mullagh)
23. Niall Burke (Oranmore-Maree) for Joseph Cooney (39)
21. Brian Concannon (Killimordaly) for Whelan (52)
19. Brian Flaherty (Abbeyknockmoy) for Harte (59)
20. Kevin McHugo (Tommy Larkin’s) for Coen (66)
26. Jack Coyne (Castlegar) for Glennon (69)
1. Eoghan Cahill (Birr)
4. Ben Conneely (St Rynagh’s)
3. Seán Gardiner (Lusmagh)
2. Tom Spain (Brosna Gaels)
5. David O’Toole (Shamrocks)
6. Pat Camon (St Rynagh’s)
7. Jordan Quinn (Kilcormac/Killoughey)
8. David King (Coolderry) (c)
9. Paddy Delaney (Kinnitty)
10. Colm Gath (Drumcullen)
11. Shane Kinsella (Kinnitty)
12. Oisín Kelly (Belmont)
13. Damien Egan (Belmont)
14. Conor Mahon (Kilcormac/Killoughey)
15. Dan Currams (Kilcormac/Killoughey)
17. Dermott Shortt (St Rynagh’s) for Quinn (36)
20. Tommy Geraghty (Kilcormac/Killoughey) for Delaney (36)
21. Colin Egan (Belmont) for Gath (48)
22. Shane Dooley (Tullamore) for King (52)
23. Joe Bergin (Seir Kieran) for Kelly (65)
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork)
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