Galway put on show of strength in Ruislip

Galway centre-forward Shane Walsh outstanding, finishing with 1-6, as London freeze

London’s Mark Gottsche attempts to block Michael Lundy  scoring another point for Galway during their Connacht  quarter-final at Ruislip, London. Photograph: Inpho

London’s Mark Gottsche attempts to block Michael Lundy scoring another point for Galway during their Connacht quarter-final at Ruislip, London. Photograph: Inpho

 

Galway 3-17
London 0-7


Careful what you wish for, eh? After spending last summer clawing and scratching to be taken seriously, London were made to endure an afternoon of precisely what that entails. A 19-point torching from a Galway side that had no patience for the idea that they might become another notch on the Exiles’ bedpost like Sligo and Leitrim had last year. The carriage didn’t so much turn into a pumpkin as get picked off with a bazooka.

Paul Coggins’s side froze and turned in the sort of performance we assumed belonged to a bygone age. They were a point down inside 18 seconds and were picking the ball out of their net by the third minute.

They sat scoreless all the way until injury-time at the end of the first half and didn’t manage a point from play until the second half. Only one of their starting outfield players managed to score all afternoon. “It’s hugely disappointing,” said Coggins afterwards.

“You don’t like to be beaten like that because we have a lot of pride in our team and in ourselves,” he said. “Galway played extremely well and if you’re beaten by a better team you’re beaten by a better team. The first 10 minutes, we wanted to be up there and we weren’t. They got the start that we wanted and from that moment on we were in trouble.

“Our preparation felt no different to last year. We were ready. We thought we were ready, anyway. In fairness to Galway, they came out with a lot of energy and they had a big performance. We tried everything. We had 10 or 11 shots in the first half and didn’t get a point until those couple of frees in injury time. That’s very disappointing. We’re disappointed for our fans and our families.”

The pity of it was that as a result of streaking across the sky last summer, they’ve managed to pique more interest in London’s Irish community than ever before. They drew a crowd of just short of 3,000 to Ruislip yesterday. They hoisted a couple of marquees, slung burgers and pints to the masses. A brilliant summer sun blazed down and country music blared. Alan Mulholland said afterwards that he half-expected to arrive to find a pitch with grass up to his knees but the place couldn’t have looked better. The whole scene deserved more than what London offered up.

There was none of the brio of last summer, none of the fight or even the organisation. Galway walked through them at their ease. Mulholland’s side had 1-6 on the board after 15 minutes, by which time London had yet to even record a shot.

If Galway came prepared for all scenarios, they can’t have imagined this one was particularly likely.

“The stuffing was knocked out of London early on,” said Mulholland. “We knew they’d be targeting the early part of the game and trying to lay down a marker and I think when we took that away from them, it probably knocked them back in confidence. It wasn’t really championship intensity after that.”

In its absence, Galway filled their boots with relish. Centre-forward Shane Walsh was outstanding, finishing the day with 1-6, all but a couple of points from play. Inside, he had Danny Cummins and Michael Martin as wingmen and between the three of them they put the game out of London’s reach long before half-time.

It got ugly early for London. Martin scored Galway’s first goal in the third minute after incisive work from Cummins and former Kildare forward James Kavanagh. And from there, it was a procession.

It was an impressive show of strength from Galway, especially considering they were without Paul Conroy, Gary Sice and Seán Armstrong. Walsh and Cummins will torment better defences than London’s and their midfield pairing of Fiontán Ó Curraoin and Tom Flynn were lordly at times. And as ever, Garreth Bradshaw was reliably restless from wing-back. It will have made for uncomfortable viewing in Sligo.

London finally got on the board with a couple of frees from goalkeeper Adrian Faherty in first-half injury-time. But all it did was take the bare look off the half-time scoreline, making it 1-9 to 0-2. And even then, Galway squeezed the last bit of life out of them soon after the break,

Walsh popping onto a Cummins offload to plant the killshot past Faherty.

A clearly injured Lorcan Mulvey came off the bench for London at half-time and knocked over their first point from play on 43 minutes. His presence did at least give London a focal point in attack but it would be stretching matters to imagine he might have made a difference from the start. It wasn’t that kind of game.

“After that, I don’t think we really know where we are,” conceded Mulholland. “The last few performances in the league against Down and Monaghan and Armagh were pretty decent but I don’t think this will give us any further indication of where we are. We set out at the start of the year to reach a Connacht final and that’s what we’re aiming at.”

LONDON: A Faherty (0-3, all frees); P Butler, S Curran, D McCarthy; S Hannon, T Gaughan, M Walsh; M Gottsche, M Carroll; G Crowley, D Dunleavy, C O Neill; E O’Neill, P Geraghty, J Feeney (0-1). Subs: L Mulvey (0-3, 0-2 free) for E O’Neill; B Collins for McCarthy (both half-time); M Miskelly for C O’Neill (47 mins); S Mulligan for Carroll (61 mins); L Colfer for Feeney (63 mins); B Mitchell for Walsh (65 mins).
GALWAY: M Breathnach; D O’Neill, F Hanley, J Duane; G Bradshaw, G O’Donnell, P Varley; F Ó Curraoin, T Flynn; M Lundy (0-1), S Walsh (1-6, 0-2 frees, 0-1 45), J Kavanagh; M Martin (1-3, 0-1 free), E Hoare (0-3), D Cummins (1-3). Subs: G Higgins for Ó Curraoin (47 mins); D Comer for Lundy (52 mins); A Varley (0-1) for Martin (52 mins); J O’Brien for Flynn (59 mins); C Mulryan for Bradshaw (60 mins); E Concannon for Hoare (67 mins). Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford)

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