Allianz Football League Division One
Galway 1-13 Kerry 0-14
By Cian O’Connell at Pearse Stadium
This was a satisfying afternoon for Galway, who secured a place in next weekend’s Allianz Football League Division One Final against Mayo.
Pádraic Joyce’s outfit produced a resilient and resourceful display to earn the full complement of spoils.
Galway’s efficiency in the second half was critical, converting six points from eight attempts when the issue was delicately poised.
At the opposite end of the field Galway’s full back line of Johnny McGrath, Seán Fitzgerald, and captain Seán Kelly all contributed handsomely to this success.
Kerry just weren’t sufficiently clinical as illustrated by the fact that they only registered 0-14 from 28 shots.
Galway’s industrious approach was a factor in that too which will have pleased the locals as the maroon and white prevailed.
Following a lively opening period Galway departed armed with a 1-7 to 0-7 advantage.
That was chiefly due to Paul Conroy’s fortuitous goal as the interval approached in the 33rd minute.
Conroy’s attempt for a point eventually ended crossing the line for a major which put Galway 1-7 to 0-5 ahead.
Before the break, though, Gavin White fisted a point and Seán O’Shea converted a free to leave only three between the teams.
Encouraging evidence was available early on for Galway, who accumulated a 0-6 to 0-2 lead by the 19th minute.
With Cathal Sweeney dropping deep to lend valuable assistance, John Daly operated in an effective manner, controlling affairs for Galway.
John Maher made an impact too for Galway with Kerry surprisingly wasteful in attack.
From 14 first half shots Kerry only had a 50 per cent return landing seven points, with Galway nailing 1-7 from 13.
There was a similar theme after the restart. Kelly continued to be an influential figure for Galway even when Kerry posed stern questions.
Seán O’Shea brought Kerry to within the minimum of margins, but Cathal Sweeney and substitute Damien Comer responded for Galway.
It was that sort of encounter with a 57th minute David Clifford free following an O’Shea ’45 narrowing the gap to one.
Galway replied again. Shane Walsh clipped frees either side of a splendid score from replacement Rob Finnerty which had Galway 1-13 to 0-12 in front.
Late on Bernard Power made a save to thwart Seán O’Shea, a defiant Galway weren’t going to be denied. A league decider against neighbours Mayo is next on the agenda. That is always a passionate fixture worth monitoring.
Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-5 (5fs), Paul Conroy 1-0, John Maher 0-2, Matthew Tierney, Tomo Culhane, Cathal Sweeney, John Daly, Damien Comer, and Rob Finnerty 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kerry: Seán O’Shea 0-5 (2fs, 2 45s), Barry Dan O’Sullivan, Paudie Clifford, Tom O’Sullivan, and David Clifford (2fs) 0-2 each, Gavin White 0-1.
Galway: Bernard Power; Seán Fitzgerald, Seán Kelly, Johnny McGrath; Dylan McHugh, John Daly, Cian Hernon; Paul Conroy, John Maher; Matthew Tierney, Johnny Heaney, Peter Cooke; Tomo Culhane, Cathal Sweeney, Shane Walsh.
Subs: Jack Glynn for Hernon (HT), Damien Comer for Culhane (42), Rob Finnerty for Maher (54), Daniel O’Flaherty for Heaney (70+2).
Kerry: Shane Murphy; Jason Foley, Dylan Casey, Tom O’Sullivan; Tadhg Morley, Paul Murphy, Gavin White; Jack Barry, Barry Dan O’Sullivan; Paudie Clifford, Seán O’Shea, Ruairi Murphy; Tony Brosnan, David Clifford, Donal O’Sullivan.
Subs: Diarmuid O’Connor for BD O’Sullivan (32-24, blood), Dara Moynihan for R Murphy (HT), Diarmuid O’Connor for BD O’Sullivan (40), Killian Spillane for D O’Sullivan (46), Graham O’Sulllivan for Casey (51), Paul Geaney for P Murphy (66).
Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh).