All-Ireland SFC: Gritty Galway advance

All-Ireland SFC Preliminary Quarter-Final

Galway 0-14 Monaghan 0-11

By Cian O’Connell at Pearse Stadium

This was a game about Galway’s patience and perseverance. Monaghan were rugged in Salthill, but Pádraic Joyce’s team found a way to survive.

Now, a trip to Croke Park beckons for an All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final next weekend. That is precisely where everybody wants to be and Galway, unbeaten in the 2024 Championship, head for GAA headquarters heartened.

Monaghan did plenty right in the first half, but Galway just showed a little bit more ambition throughout the match. In such a high stakes battle, that was crucial.

Galway had to deal with the loss of Shane Walsh, but prompted by Paul Conroy’s brilliance and effective displays from the hard running John Maher and Cillian McDaid, the maroon and white prevailed.

A tight opening period satisfied a gritty Monaghan outfit, who accumulated a 0-4 to 0-2 advantage by the 26th minute.

Vinny Corey’s charges were frustrating the locals and on trips into Galway territory Gary Mohan and Stephen O’Hanlon landed sweet efforts from play.

Shane Walsh was forced off injured for Galway, who terminated a 15 minute search for a score when Matthew Tierney converted a free.

Micheal Bannigan responded for Monaghan, but Galway reeled off three in a row courtesy of Rob Finnerty, Tierney (free), and influential midfielder Paul Conroy.

Stephen O’Hanlon, Monaghan, and Johnny McGrath, Galway, in All-Ireland SFC action at Pearse Stadium. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Ultimately, that Galway burst ensured Pádraic Joyce’s charges led at the turnaround 0-6 to 0-5.

Three of the first five second half points were registered by Monaghan, who were back trading on parity, 0-8 each, following a delicious Conor McCarthy effort in the 50th minute.

Galway, though, were crafty enough to summon the answers. Damien Comer was introduced to a passionate ovation and the Annaghdown attacker made some crucial plays.

Barry McBennett thumped a 54th minute attempt off the crossbar when Galway were 0-10 to 0-8 ahead.

Comer’s 62nd minute score came at the end of a five point Galway streak, including three from Finnerty and one from Maher.

Stephen O’Hanlon, industrious for the visitors, replied before Comer crafted space for another substitute, Liam Ó Conghaile to nudge Galway 0-13 to 0-8 clear.

In the dying embers Monaghan replacement Conor McManus clipped a couple of frees, but it wasn’t enough to stop Galway, who secured a much coveted place in the last eight.

Scorers for Galway: Rob Finnerty 0-5 (3fs), Paul Conroy 0-3, Matthew Tierney 0-2 (2fs), John Maher, Damien Comer, Liam Ó Conghaile, and Shane Walsh (f) 0-1 each.

Scorers for Monaghan: Jack McCarron 0-3 (2fs), Stephen O’Hanlon, Micheál Bannigan (1f) and Conor McManus (2fs) 0-2 each, Conor McCarthy and Gary Mohan 0-1 each.

Galway: Connor Gleeson; Johnny McGrath, Seán Fitzgerald, Jack Glynn; Dylan McHugh, Liam Silke, Seán Ó Maoilchiaráin; Paul Conroy, John Maher; Seán Kelly, Matthew Tierney, Céin D’Arcy; Rob Finnerty, Shane Walsh, Cillian McDaid.

Subs: Liam Ó Conghaile for Walsh (26), Damien Comer for D’Arcy (42), Johnny Heaney for McDaid (65), Cian Hernon for Kelly (68), Daniel O’Flaherty for Finnerty (70).

Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Jason Irwin, Killian Lavelle, Ryan Wylie; Ryan McAnespie, Ryan O’Toole, Conor McCarthy; Gary Mohan, Joel Wilson; Michael Hamill, Micheál Bannigan, Stephen O’Hanlon; Andrew Woods, Jack McCarron, Barry McBennett.

Subs: Thomas McPhillips for McAnespie (29), Conor McManus for Mohan (46), Micheal McArville for Wilson (54), Ciarán McNulty for McCarron (58), Seán Jones for Hamill (68).

Referee: Seán Lonergan (Tipperary).