Long road for Galway footballers after draw with Armagh

Galway 0-15

Armagh 1-12

IT’S rare for a big match draw to leave all the baggage of a defeat, but that’s how it felt for the Galway footballers after blowing a winning hand against Armagh in this final round All-Ireland series group qualifier at Markievicz Park on Sunday.

Anyone who might doubt the consequences of the Tribesmen failing to close the deal when five points ahead, and in command by the 54th minute, would only have to witness the deflation around the Galway dressing-room afterwards.

Suddenly, their route to an All-Ireland final has become a lot more complicated and it was a challenge which proved beyond them in similar circumstances 12 months ago. Then, as now, it was Armagh who started the rot.

Instead of a week off and a direct passage to the last eight of the championship, Galway must quickly dust themselves down for a preliminary quarter-final against Monaghan at Pearse Stadium on Sunday.

It would have been the last thing on the minds of Galway supporters in the somewhat disappointing crowd of 8, 870 midway through the second-half in Sligo. The outcome appeared a formality, especially as the men in maroon had the wind at their backs.

Up to that juncture, Galway had been producing their best performance of the year. Their patient possession-based football had created sufficient openings to put clear daylight between the teams, with wing back Dylan McHugh and John Maher both having stormers.

Ahead by 0-13 to 0-8, Padraic Joyce’s team had hardly put a foot wrong, but the exchanges underwent a dramatic transformation from there to the finish after the calamitous concession of their first goal in nine matches when a Connor Gleeson shot kick-out wet awry.

Still, Galway were on the brink of clinging on for victory when Shane Walsh pointed a terrific long-range free as the match drifted into stoppage time. Subsequently, substitute Tomo Culhane had a great chance to put them two ahead only to drag his effort wide of the near post.

Pictured: Galway’s Johnny Heaney tries to halt the progress of Oisín O’Neill of Armagh during the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Round 3 clash at Markievicz Park on Sunday. Photos: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile



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