Galway step up intensity to earn deserved draw with the Rossies

Inside Track with John McIntyre

THEY didn’t win the game; only scored nine points; and just managed three scores from play, but Galway football manager Padraic Joyce would have departed Hyde Park on Sunday a happier camper than was the case seven days previously in Salthill.

The Tribesmen had barely showed up for their opening round Division One league clash with Mayo at Pearse Stadium. In falling to an eight-point defeat, the home team’s submissiveness to their great rivals came as a surprise. Immediately, Galway were identified as prime candidates for relegation.

Joyce needed a response for the trip to Roscommon but when the Galway fifteen was announced, it sparked a certain fatalism among their supporters about the result. No Seán Kelly, no Damien Comer, no Liam Silke and no Shane Walsh – arguably the team’s four most influential performers.

With a few of the St Brigid’s players and All-Star Enda Smith returning to their ranks following a first round loss to Tyrone, Roscommon were understandably penciled in as favourites to compound Galway’s early season woes. And when the Rossies had first use of the strong wind, it all stacked up for a tough day at the office for the men in maroon.

But Galway were much more tuned-in compared to the Mayo game. With the long-serving Paul Conroy bringing some badly-needed grit to the midfield area, the Tribesmen showed no shortage of heart and commitment in demanding conditions. They only trailed by three points at the interval and were in a good position to carry the day.

This was not an afternoon, however, for shooting the lights out. Progress on the scoreboard was slow as points from Matthew Tierney and Kieran Molloy closed the gap to one. Ultimately, it took Conroy’s 62nd minute free to finally get Galway on level terms. They subsequently had a couple chances to win it, but a draw was more than acceptable in the circumstances.

Pictured: Galway’s Jason Flynn getting the better of Westmeath’s Johnny Bermingham during Saturday’s National Hurling League tie at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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