Galway 2-13 Meath 1-12
Galway got their Allianz League campaign off to a winning start as they brushed aside an under-par Meath at Pearse Stadium. Goals from Danny Cummins and Shane Walsh helped the Tribesmen to the win, but a wasteful and lacklustre Meath also contributed to their own downfall.
With 15 minutes remaining Meath should have drawn level but Mickey Newman blasted over from close range. Galway went on to kick 1-3 in a two-minute spell soon after to make sure of the win.
Manager Kevin Walsh was happy to win his first national league game in charge of his native county. "Yes, it is important to win the home games but it's important also to have a performance whether we're winners or not," said Walsh.
“I don’t think we went down at any stage which was important and Meath did come back at us, we kicked on again.
“I know we shipped maybe four points and a goal and a point at the end. I suppose the ruthless teams wouldn’t allow that to happen, but look, it’s our first day out,” said Walsh.
Cummins’ goal in the 14th minute gave the Tribesmen a 1-5 to 0-1 advantage and it was the least their slick play deserved. Meath fought back to only trail by four at the break, thanks largely to the dead ball exploits of Newman and goalkeeper Paddy O’Rourke.
Stephen Bray came to the fore as Meath went about dragging themselves back into contention, but manager Mick O'Dowd was infuriated by his side's overall display as they were blitzed by the Tribesmen.
“It was a shocking performance. We went 20 minutes without scoring after scoring a free in the first minute. That’s not acceptable,” he said.
The introduction of Patrick Sweeney added some much needed impetus to the Galway forward line: he earned a free which Walsh converted in the 61st minute and then sent the same player in for Galway’s second goal less than a minute later.
Jamie Queeney's added-time goal came too late for Meath, who kicked seven wides, and were ultimately punished for a loose defensive display. GALWAY: B O'Donoghue; D O'Neill, C Forde, C Sweeney; P Varley (0-2), G Bradshaw, G O'Donnell; F Ó Curraoin (0-1), T Flynn; E Tierney, E Hoare (0-2, 0-1 free), S Denvir (0-1); D Cummins (1-3), A Varley (0-1), S Walsh (1-3, 0-1 free). Subs: P Sweeney for A Varley (58 mins), M Martin for Hoare (65 mins), C Mulryan for Cummins (68 mins), D Kyne for P Varley (BC, 69 mins). MEATH: P O'Rourke (0-3, 0-2 frees, 0-1 45); D Tobin, C McGill, M Burke; P Harnan, D Keogan, B Menton (0-1); H Rooney, A Flanagan; G Reilly (0-1), S Bray (0-2), A Tormey; B McMahon, M Newman (0-5, four frees), J Wallace. Subs: D Carroll for McMahon (half-time), J Queeney (1-0) for Tormey (BC, 49 mins), D Dalton for Harnan, S Tobin for Wallace (both 63 mins), C McConnell for D Tobin (66 mins). Referee: Padraig O'Sullivan (Kerry).