All-Ireland SFC: Gritty Galway prevail

All-Ireland SFC Group One

Galway 2-14 Derry 0-15

By Billy Coss at Pearse Stadium

Second half goals from Seán Kelly and Céin D’Arcy were the key scores as Galway made a winning start to Group One of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship against 14-man Derry in Salthill this evening.

Already minus Padraig McGrogan due his recent cruciate ligament injury, Derry also started with two more key defenders in Conor Doherty and Eoin McEvoy. Their chances suffered a further hammer blow on 21 minutes when All-Star centre half-back Gareth McKinless received a straight red card.

The recently crowned three in-a-row Connacht champions led for the bulk of contest and turned around armed with an 0-8 to 0-6 interval advantage. Top scorer Rob Finnerty kicked three points and man of the match Paul Conroy two as Derry were left to rue several chances that drifted wide or dropped short.

Though Mickey Harte’s side briefly drew level early in the second half after Conor Glass and Lachlan Murray efforts, Kelly’s 42nd minute finish at the second time of asking created scoreboard separation that the winners would protect to the finish. John Daly, Shane Walsh, Liam Ó Conghaile and Conroy also landed important second half points.

Derry battled valiantly while a man light and a fruitful mini-spell brought two more for Murray either side of a Brendan Rogers point that moved them to within three.

In the 63rd minute Galway ‘keeper Connor Gleeson saved Shane McGuigan’s powerful, but centrally struck shot before play swung to the Árus Bóthar na Trá end and Daniel O’Flaherty and D’Arcy worked the match-sealing goal palmed home by D’Arcy.

Galway travel to Westmeath next, while Derry host Armagh.

Scorers for Galway: Robert Finnerty 0-4 (2fs), Paul Conroy 0-3, Seán Kelly and Céin D’Arcy 1-0 each, Shane Walsh and John Daly 0-2, Johnny Heaney, Matthew Tierney and Liam Ó Conghaile 0-1 each.

Scorers for Derry: Shane McGuigan 0-4 (2fs), Lachlan Murray 0-3, Ciáran McFaul 0-2, Paul Cassidy, Emmett Bradley, Conor Glass, Donncha Gilmore, Brendan Rogers and Ethan Doherty 0-1 each.

Galway: Connor Gleeson; Johnny McGrath, Seán Fitzgerald, Jack Glynn; Dylan McHugh, Liam Silke, John Daly; Paul Conroy, Matthew Tierney; Johnny Heaney, John Maher, Seán Kelly (captain); Robert Finnerty, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh.

Subs: Céin D’Arcy for Comer inj (47), Cillian McDaid for Maher (58), Daniel O’Flaherty for Kelly (62), Cillian Ó Curraoin for Finnerty inj (65), Liam Ó Conghaile for Heaney (67).

Derry: Odhran Lynch; Conor McCluskey, Christopher McKaigue, Diarmuid Baker; Brendan Rogers, Gareth McKinless, Ciarán McFaul; Conor Glass (captain), Emmett Bradley, Ethan Doherty, Paul Cassidy Declan Cassidy; Lachlan Murray, Shane McGuigan, Niall Toner.

Subs: Donncha Gilmore for Declan Cassidy (HT), Eunan Mulholland for Toner (48), Cahir McMonagle for Murray (67), Shea Downey for McFaul (70).

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare).