Galway salvage a share of the spoils thanks to Joyce

Galway 0-11

Sligo    2-5

Eanna O’Reilly at Tuam Stadium

THE Galway minor football team opened their Connacht championship campaign with a draw against a dogged Sligo side at Tuam Stadium on Friday evening.

An injury-time point from Corofin’s Killian Joyce salvaged a share of the spoils for Neil McHugh’s charges, as the young Tribesmen showed great composure to engineer the levelling score in the final minute.

Playing with the wind in the opening half and shooting into the town end goal, Galway opened the scoring in the first minute, Luke Dempsey took a neat point from the left corner, after a quick free was well delivered by Richard McGrath.

Twelve minutes passed without a score at either end, as both sides defended effectively in numbers. Dempsey managed to win a turnover in the Galway attack before drawing a foul, which was converted by Killian Joyce to make it 0-2 to 0-0.

Three minutes later, the visitors opened their account. Referee Brendan Healy spotted an off the ball foul on Sligo full forward Marc Clifford, which allowed Niall Duffy to send over their first point. Duffy pointed his second free in the 24th minute, after a foul on the lively Adam Feeney.

Two minutes later, the visitors had the game’s opening goal. Sligo midfielder Conor McDonagh sent a quick free into the full forward line, where Clifford was left unmarked, and he finished low to the net past Jamie King.

It was a huge boost for the visitors, whose massed defence was proving extremely difficult for Galway to break down at the other end of the pitch. Despite dominating possession, they struggled to engineer scoring opportunities for the majority of the first half.

Shortly before half time, Ronan Duggan played a pass inside to Joyce, who sent over an excellent point from the right wing. It left the score at 1-2 to 0-3 in favour of Sligo at the interval. With wind advantage to come in the second half, the boys from the northwest looked to be in a strong position.

Despite losing Patrick Brady to a black card early in the second half, Sligo extended their lead when Duffy sent over a free from 50 yards. Galway needed a response and scored two points in a three minute spell.

Pictured: Galway’s Michael Leahy is challenged by Sligo’s Conor McDonagh during Friday’s Connacht Minor Football Championship tie at Tuam Stadium.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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