Walsh saves Galway with injury-time strike

 

Galway 1-11 Donegal 0-14

Captain Kevin Walsh spared Galway's blushes with an injury-time equaliser to force a draw in today's pulsating All-Ireland quarter-final showdown with Donegal at Croke Park.

Despite dominating for much of the second half, Galway faded in the closing stages of the game and allowed their opponents claw their way into a slender lead having, at one stage, been four points down.

The Ulster side ripped into Galway from the opening minute and had cancelled out two Galway scores when Brendan Devenney pointed them into an early 3-2 lead.

Galway, playing into a strong breeze, struggled to contain the pace of Donegal's attack and suffered as a result. The Connacht champions found themselves 7-2 down by the time Devenney struck his second score on 16 minutes.

But Donegal took their foot off the pedal after that score and lost their way somewhat as close range attempts - which they had been converting moments earlier - were inexplicably drifting wide.

The game turned full circle 10 minutes from the break when Donegal's John Gildea was caught in possession as his side attempted to hand pass the ball from defence. Declan Meehan intercepted and fed Derek Savage who in turn set up corner forward Michael Meehan. Meehan collected and shimmied past goalkeeper Tony Blake for a fine goal.

That score leveled the game - Galway clawed their way back from 7-2 down through Paul Clancy and Savage - but Padraig Joyce kicked over his second free to put Galway one point ahead at half-time: 1-5 to 0-7.

Galway stretched their lead after the break and were clearly the better team as Donegal struggled to find their form of the first half. Savage, Declan Meehan and Matthew Clancy all found their range before Donegal could settle.

The Connacht champions led by four when Joyce smacked over his fourth midway through the second period but the team suddenly hit a wall and lost control of midfield as Donegal found their rhythm.

Devenney (twice) and Adrian Sweeney reduced the margin to a single score seven minutes from time. Paul McGonigle then swiftly equalised before substitute John Haran put Donegal ahead with a minute to play. However, Galway are a team to write off at your peril and proved so when Walsh belted home the equaliser from 45 yards.

The game will be replayed next Saturday but a venue has yet to be decided.