Battling Tribesmen show character to grind out win

Eoghan Kerin was impressive for Galway against Monaghan on Sunday, where he enjoyed a fascinating duel with Conor McManus.
Eoghan Kerin was impressive for Galway against Monaghan on Sunday, where he enjoyed a fascinating duel with Conor McManus.

Monaghan 0-11

Galway 1-9

It’s only February, and there are just three rounds of the National Football League completed, but an understrength Galway is already pleasantly surprising.

Nobody expected the Tribesmen to get anything out of the Dubs in Croke Park in Round Two – and they didn’t – and not many anticipated a result against Monaghan at a bitterly cold and windy Grattan Park last Sunday either.

Pulling off a minor shock away to an Ulster outfit with genuine All-Ireland ambitions, who downed Dublin in their first League outing, is an achievement in itself.

Doing so without two regulars from the last line of defence, Declan Kyne and Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh; and with captain, Damien Comer, the Corofin contingent and many more absent, elevates the win to a higher level.

Remember, too, that Monaghan was caught late by Roscommon the previous weekend, and a big backlash was expected for the arrival of the Westerners in Inniskeen.

Kevin Walsh, and his backroom team, won’t get overexcited, and yet they will be quietly satisfied with how their inexperienced charges fought their way out of a tricky situation, and withstood a late charge.

There was nothing ‘easy on the eye’ about Galway’s one-point victory and the purists will crib about the standard of fare but what would you prefer: winning ugly in Division One against the country’s top teams, and getting battle-hardened for Championship; or playing pretty in Division Two?

Galway’s first-half performance was woeful, and yet the second-half, full of guts and determination – and a bit of football too! – was encouraging.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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