Galway’s strength blows away Roscommon in second half
Tribesmen turn around seven-point half-time deficit at Dr Hyde Park
Damien Comer scored a second-half goal for Galway in their Allianz Football League Division Two game against Roscommon at Dr Hyde Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
A deserved victory for a physically stronger Galway team has left the Division Two promotion and relegation battles on a knife-edge. Just four points separates the eight teams in the division after the Tribesmen overhauled a seven-point half-time Roscommon lead at a wintry Dr Hyde Park.
Galway, inspired by under-21 players Damien Comer and Liam Silke, had wiped out the Roscommon advantage within 10 minutes of the resumption as they made full use of the powerful breeze. The visitors, for whom Peadar Og Ó Griofa kicked 0-6, played like a team for whom this was a must-win match, while Roscommon failed to produce the dynamism of earlier performances.
The home team rallied in the middle of the second half to forge into a two-point lead but after a Senan Kilbride thunderbolt hit the crossbar in the 49th minute, Galway dominated the last quarter to run out deserving winners.
They shot 12 wides, nine of them in the second half. Only two brilliant saves by Darren O’Malley in the first half, one from a penalty, ensured the Rossies led by seven at the break.
Galway need at least a draw against Kildare to stay up while Roscommon must beat Westmeath in their last match and hope other results go their way in order to gain promotion.
Kevin Walsh’s team began well against the wind and went into an early lead with points from Paul Conroy and Patrick Sweeney. Roscommon settled and reeled off unanswered scores from Ciaráin and Diarmuid Murtagh and Enda Smith.
Seán Denvir hit a good equaliser after 15 minutes but the Rossies took over with Cathal Shine winning ball at midfield. Shine set up Diarmuid Murtagh for a point after 19 minutes and further scores followed from Ciaráin Murtagh and two from Shine. Kilbride was almost in for a goal but his attempted pass across the square towards Smith was cut out by Silke.
Comer, who caused trouble for the Roscommon full-back line throughout the match, won a penalty when he was brought down by David Murray. Murray, who was Roscommon’s best player up to that stage, was shown a black card but Ó Griofa’s low shot was expertly saved by O’Malley.
Comer drove over the resulting 45 but the home team finished the half impressively. Murtagh got behind the defence to flick a long ball from Shine to the net and just before the break Cathal Cregg set up Smith for a point.
Galway had wiped out the seven-point gap 10 minutes into the second-half. Ó Griofa scored from a free and play, Conroy landed a 50-metre free and then after 44 minutes Comer caught a long ball from Gareth Bradshaw and finished a low shot to the net. Ó Griofa quickly added the equaliser.
Kilbride was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a powerful shot. Diarmuid Murtagh edged the Rossies two ahead by the 53rd minute but they didn’t score again into the wind. Their only other threat came from a goalbound Smith shot which was blocked by Finian Hanley.
Points from Ó Griofa and Gary Sice brought the sides level by the 61st minute and once Conroy gave Galway the lead from a free one minute later they finished much the stronger and sealed victory with points from Ó Griofa (two) and Comer.
ROSCOMMON: D O’Malley; S McDermott, N Carty, N Collins; C Daly, D Keenan, D Murray; C Shine (0-2), K Higgins; N Daly, C Murtagh (0-2), E Smith (0-2); D Murtagh (1-4, two frees), S. Kilbride, C Cregg.
Subs: C Cafferky for Murray (black card, 27 mins), D Ward for Higgins (half-time), M Healy for Shine (50 mins), R Stack for Smith (60 mins), C Connolly for Cregg (65 mins), F Kelly for Ward (70 mins).
GALWAY: M Breathnach; J Duane, F Hanley, C Sweeney; L Silke, G Bradshaw, G O’Donnell; F Ó Curraoin, P Conroy (0-3, three frees); S Denvir (0-1), P Sweeney (0-1), G Sice (0-1); P Ó Griofa (0-6, four frees), D Comer (1-2, one 45), M Lundy.
Subs: S Walsh for Denvir (60 mins), A Varley for Sweeney (63 mins), M Martin for Lundy (68 mins).
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo).