Allianz HL D1: Emphatic win for Galway

Allianz Hurling League Division One Group A

Galway 4-27 Westmeath 1-12

By Gerry Buckley at TEG Cusack Park

Galway and Westmeath rounded off their round robin fixtures in this year’s Allianz Hurling League Divsion 1A in showery conditions in
Mullingar this afternoon, with the visitors winning by a somewhat flattering 24-point margin.

The Tribesmen were three points to the good in as many minutes courtesy of Cianan Fahy, Brian Concannon and Liam Collins. Westmeath lost their marquee defender Tommy Doyle after a bang of the sliotar in the head in the eighth minute, a major blow given the absence of their star forward Killian Doyle. In the latter’s absence, Niall O’Brien was on free-taking duty and he had a mixed afternoon from placed balls.

Henry Shefflin’s charges were 0-5 to 0-0 up before their opponents struck for a hat-trick of unanswered points from the sticks of Jack Galvin, Kevin Regan, and O’Brien (a free).

Westmeath’s fourth point came from Galway native Davy Glennon (whose brother Ronan lined out for the winners) and the Connacht side led by 0-10 to 0-4 when Ciaran Doyle, a twin brother of the absent Killian, did well to get in a one-handed strike for a tonic goal for the team under the tutelage of Joe Fortune.

It was 0-12 to 1-4 in Galway’s favour when Concannon rifled home a great goal from a tight angle with exactly 35 minutes on the clock. With Conor Cooney striking four points from play in the first moiety and Evan Niland converting six placed balls (including a ninth-minute ’65’), Galway led by 1-14 to 1-5 at the interval.

A classy point from play by O’Brien was an encouraging start to the second half for Westmeath, but Galway were always able to pick off points when needed. Indeed, they ended up with 13 different scorers on the day. Despite the home team – with Ciaran Doyle prominent – scoring four unanswered points between the 48th and 55th minutes, Galway still led by 1-19 to 1-11 when sub Declan McLoughlin availed of one of many unforced Westmeath errors to rifle the ball past Conor Bracken in the 59th minute.

Galway scored the last 2-7 of the contest without reply from the outclassed men in the changed green and maroon jerseys. The two goals came with time almost up courtesy of Jason Flynn and Tiernan Killeen, and Gavin Lee still had time to score a last-gasp point.

Much of the post-match Galway chat in the crowd focused on David Burke’s cruciate injury, while Westmeath eyes were already firmly set on next Saturday’s Division One relegation play-off against Laois.

Scorers for Galway: E Niland 0-11 (8fs, 1’65’), C Cooney 0-5, B Concannon, D McLoughlin, J Flynn 1-1 each, T Killeen 1-0, John Cooney 0-2, C Fahy, L Collins, G Lee, TJ Brennan, P Mannion, K Cooney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Westmeath: C Doyle 1-4 (1f), N O’Brien 0-5 (4f), J Galvin, D Glennon, K Regan 0-1 each.

Galway: E Murphy; D Morrissey, D Burke, TJ Brennan; P Mannion, J Fitzpatrick, T Killeen; C Fahy, R Glennon; John Cooney, L Collins, C Cooney; E Niland, B Concannon, K Cooney.

Subs: D McLoughlin for Collins (46), J Flynn for C Cooney (54), G Lee for John Cooney (63), Joseph Cooney for Glennon (63), D O’Shea for Concannon (65), M McManus for McLoughlin (blood, 70+1).

Westmeath: C Bracken; G Greville, J Bermingham, C Shaw; A Craig, T Doyle, R Greville; J Galvin, S McGovern; K Regan, C Doyle, E Keyes; N O’Brien, S Clavin, D Glennon. Subs: D Egerton for T Doyle (inj., 8), J Gillen for O’Brien (inj., 52), P Clarke for Glennon (59), M Cunningham for McGovern (67), C Boyle for Bermingham (67), P Maxwell for Galvin (70).

Referee: K Jordan (Tipperary).