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Few fireworks as Galway coast home by 31 points

Galway 4-31

Westmeath 0-12

NOT much to see here: and not many turned up to see it. Barely 1,000 spectators gathered in Salthill on Saturday to witness Galway’s latest habitual hammering of hapless Westmeath in the opening round of the National Hurling League.

Showing wholesale changes to the team which lost to Wexford in the Walsh Cup final the previous weekend, Galway coasted through this significant step down in class by again showing no mercy to the makeshift Midlanders, who were a whopping 31 points adrift at the finish.

Missing several influential performers, Westmeath were simply out of their depth and only for the heroics of goalkeeper Noel Conaty, who made a string of top-class saves, the final margin of defeat could have come close to a half-century.

Nobody wants to see such embarrassing outcomes, but Westmeath are just not up to this level. They tried hard and did reasonably well in the opening quarter only for the floodgates to open on the resumption. It proved a difficult watch.

Despite the gallantry of defender Darragh Egerton, a notable contribution from the deep-lying Niall Mitchell, and the impact of lively substitute David O’Reilly – who sent over a brace of well-taken points – Westmeath floundered against Galway’s superior stickwork, cohesion and conditioning.

In that context, it may be surprising to report that Galway were no great shakes in the opening 35 minutes. They might have led by 0-15 to 0-6 at the interval, but they butchered several goal chances, some of their distribution was poor while there was a lack of intensity about their general play.

Pictured: Galway full-back T J. Brennan breaking away from Westmeath’s Eoin Keyes during Saturday’s National Hurling League tie at Pearse Stadium. Photos: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

 

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