A lot conspired against them but Galway didn’t do half badly at all

Inside Track with John McIntyre

WHEN you consider all the players Galway were missing and a tendency to press the self-destruct button during the game itself, a five-point defeat to in-form Derry in Sunday’s Division One football league tie at Pearse Stadium was a respectable outcome in the circumstances.

Missing six central figures in Paul Conroy, Shane Walsh, Damien Comer, Matthew Tierney, Cillian McDaid and Liam Silke, and with team captain Seán Kelly and Jack Glynn restricted to roles off the bench, Galway’s injury crisis continues to leave them at the mercy of the teams like Derry.

Sunday’s 3-10 to 0-11 reversal also deepens their relegation fears and Galway now face a dogfight against Monaghan in Clones on Sunday. Still, an away win over Tyrone and a draw with Roscommon leaves Padraic Joyce’s squad just a point behind the four second placed teams with Derry clear at the top.

That leaves everything to play for but the problem for Galway is that their two concluding league games are against All-Ireland champions Dublin – what a Con O’Callaghan inspired display they laid on in Croke Park on Saturday evening – and a Kerry team which will be in no mood for handing out favours down the track after their weekend mauling.

For all their problems, Galway need to get a result against Monaghan – a team which had troubled them in the past although the men in maroon were comfortable winners (1-13 to 0-10) in Salthill 12 months ago. It shouldn’t be beyond them either as the Farney county’s form has nosedived since a sparkling opening round league win over Dublin.

The last thing Galway would have needed against Derry was a poor start, but that’s what transpired after Eoin McEvoy found the net in the third minute after being put through by Ethan Doherty. It was a goal which was scored a little too easily, but the hosts regrouped with Cein D’Arcy’s excellently finishing a pass from the impressive John Daly.

Trailing by only 1-7 to 1-5 at the break, Galway were back in the hunt, and they might have gone on to carry the day if two incidents at opposite ends of the field had unfolded differently. Firstly, Niall Daly really ought to have raised the green flag early in the second-half when the ball broke favourably to him, but the Kilconly player was denied not once but twice by Derry ’keeper Ryan Scullion.

To compound the situation, Derry quickly had their second goal with Kieran Molloy proving the fall guy. He initially had a pass intercepted and then his flailing arm sent Diarmuid Baker tumbling as he bore down on the Galway posts. It was hardly a black card offence or even merited the resulting penalty, but that was the outcome.

Pictured: Galway’s Niall Daly is chased by Derry’s Conor Glass during Sunday’s Division One Football League clash at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O’Shaugnessy.

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