Allianz HL D1: Galway cruise to victory

Allianz Hurling League Division One Group B

Galway 4-31 Westmeath 0-12

By Gerry Buckley at Pearse Stadium

Galway cruised to an emphatic win over an understrength Westmeath in Salthill.

Henry Shefflin’s charges had the aid of a strong wind in the first half, but Westmeath battled well all through the opening 35 minutes, with their goalkeeper Noel Conaty in splendid form throughout the half.

Niall Mitchell was very effective as sweeper and lively corner back Darragh Egerton picked up a lot of loose ball beside him.

The visitors’ started quite brightly, but Galway began to settle, and their first seven points by the 13th minute were shared between seven different players.

Evan Niland was deadly accurate from placed balls. Westeath goalkeeper Conaty impressed, saving twice in great style from MacLoughlin (the second resulted in a point), and doing even better in the 35th minute to keep out a Jason Flynn penalty. Galway were already home and hosed when leading by 0-15 to 0-6 at the interval.

Joe Fortune’s rank outsiders failed to make use of the wind in the second half and they only had a David Williams free to their name by the 55th minute, at which stage Galway had found the net twice via Flynn and Cianan Fahy.

The third goal arrived on the hour mark when substitute Conor Whelan teed up Flynn for his second three-pointer.

Whelan scored the fourth himself in the 69th minute from a tight angle. Westmeath sub David O’Reilly caught the eye several times and was the only losing player to score twice from open play.

However, Galway were able to score points at will in what was a facile victory.

Scorers for Galway: E Niland 0-11 (6fs, 1’65), J Flynn 2-2, G Lee 0-5, T Monaghan 0-4, C Fahy 1-1, C Whelan 1-0, D MacLoughlin, D O’Shea 0-2 each, J Cooney, D Morrisey, J Ryan, R Glennon 0-1 each.

Scorers for Westmeath: D Williams 0-7 (6f), D O’Reilly 0-2, M Cunningham, D Clinton, N Mitchell 0-1 each.

Galway: Darach Fahy; Jack Grealish, TJ Brennan, Eoin Lawless; Cianan Fahy, Daithí Burke, Padraic Mannion; Donal O’Shea, Seán Linnane; Gavin Lee, Tom Monaghan, John Cooney; Evan Niland, Jason Flynn, Declan MacLoughlin.

Subs: Jamie Ryan for MacLoughlin (HT), Ronan Glennon for Linnane (49), Darren Morrisey for Burke (50), Conor Whelan for Cooney (54), Ian McGlynn for Niland (inj., 59), Dan Loftus for Lawless (64).

Westmeath: Noel Conaty; Connor Gaffney, Johnny Bermingham, Darragh Egerton; Jack Gillen, Kevin Regan, Cormac Boyle; Shane McGovern, Michael Daly; Owen McCabe, Darragh Clinton, Niall Mitchell; David Williams, Eoin Keyes, Peter Clarke.

Subs: David O’Reilly for Keyes (46), Mark Cunningham for Daly (53), Joey Boyle for Bermingham (inj., 60), Ciaran Doyle for Clarke (66), Oisín Loughlin for McGovern (66).

Referee: Sean Stack (Dublin).