Connacht SFC Final: Impressive Galway triumph

Connacht Senior Football Championship Final

Galway 2-19 Roscommon 2-16

By Cian O’Connell at Pearse Stadium

This was an utterly satisfying afternoon in Salthill for Galway.

Roscommon brought hope, expectation, and a significant support Corribside, but Galway were convincing winners.

There was plenty to enthuse about Galway’s performance.

John Daly’s shrewd defensive display and the attacking punch provided by Shane Walsh, Damien Comer, and Rob Finnerty ensured Padraic Joyce’s impressive Galway returned to the western summit.

A couple of late Roscommon goals narrowed the gap, but this day belonged to a promising maroon and white team.

Roscommon weren’t efficient enough in the opening period as Galway eventually went in 2-7 to 0-8 ahead at the interval.

That was chiefly due to two goals – a flash of Shane Walsh class and smooth opportunism from Patrick Kelly.

It was a lively encounter from the outset, but Galway made a crucial burst midway through the half yielding 1-3 without reply.

By that stage Ros led 0-4 to 0-3 before Cillian McDaid poked over a delightful equalising point.

Then the influential Damien Comer, Rob Finnerty, and Johnny Heaney were involved crafting an 18th minute chance for Walsh, who illustrated his ability with a splendid goal.

Further points from Kieran Molloy and Finnerty followed as Galway edged 1-6 to 0-4 in front.

As the interval approached and with Molloy black carded for a foul on Ciaráin Murtagh, Galway still managed to net a second major in the 34th minute.

Finnerty’s initial attempt struck the post and Kelly, a renowned goalscorer for Mountbellew-Moylough, pounced to blast a tonic second goal that moved Galway 2-7 to 0-7 clear.

Ultan Harney, who was industrious throughout, replied with a point for Roscommon, but Galway still departed armed with a five point cushion at the turnaround.

Early efforts from Heaney and Comer, who won a turnover deep in his own half, before adding the grace note with a 39th minute point.

Another Galway burst when Comer, Finnerty, and Walsh raised white flags put the locals 2-15 to 0-12 ahead with 15 minutes remaining.

Despite being under duress Roscommon did stay defiant with Conor Daly palming a 63rd minute goal.

Substitute Diarmuid Murtagh added a second goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time, but by then sufficient Galwegian damage had been inflicted.

Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 1-6 (1f, 245s), Rob Finnerty 0-5, Patrick Kelly 1-0, Damien Comer 0-3, Johnny Heaney 0-2, Kieran Molloy, Cillian McDaid, and Paul Conroy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Roscommon: Conor Cox 0-5 (3fs), Conor Daly and Diarmuid Murtagh (1f) 1-1 each, Ultan Harney 0-3, Donie Smith 0-2 (1f), Ciaráin Murtagh, Cian McKeon, Cathal Heneghan, and Enda Smith 0-1 each.

Galway: Connor Gleeson; Liam Silke, Seán Kelly, Jack Glynn; Dylan McHugh, John Daly, Cillian McDaid; Paul Conroy, Matthew Tierney; Kieran Molloy, Patrick Kelly, Johnny Heaney; Rob Finnerty, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh.

Roscommon: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Brian Stack, Conor Daly; Conor Hussey, Niall Daly, Ronan Daly; Ultan Harney, Eddie Nolan; Ciaráin Murtagh, Enda Smith, Cathal Heneghan; Cian McKeon, Donie Smith, Conor Cox.

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).