Galway see off Cavan in fraught Pearse Stadium clash
Five players sin-binned in the second half with visitors reduced to 12 men at one stage
Galway’s Peter Cooke and Cavan’s Killian Brady are shown black cards. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho
Galway 0-13 Cavan 0-11
Last year’s runners-up Galway got their league campaign off to a winning start as they came from behind against the wind in the second half at Pearse Stadium to secure victory.
Five players were sin-binned during the second half, with Cavan down to 12 players for four minutes at one stage, while two Galway players picked up black cards at different stages.
Galway made the most of their brief numerical advantage to open up a lead which was sufficient to hold off a late Cavan rally.
The Tribesmen made little use of wind advantage in the opening half at the Salthill venue where a crowd of 8,211 attended the double-header.
Galway looked to be in trouble when they turned around at the break level at 0-5 each.
Padraig Cunningham’s early point was not built on by Galway and Cavan opened up a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after ten minutes, as Pierce Smith and goalkeeper Raymond Galligan pointed frees either side of a superb effort from the right wing by Conor Madden.
Peter Cooke, one of five late changes to the Galway starting 15, kicked a good point for Galway to make it 0-4 to 0-2 at the end of the opening quarter.
Cavan hit back and Martin Reilly landed a fine free from the right and then Jack Brady made it 0-5 to 0-2.
Galway hit the next three points, with Shane Walsh pointing a free from the right and Gareth Bradshaw pointing from play before Johnny Heaney had a goal effort deflected over to tie the sides at 0-5 each at the interval.
Reilly and Cunningham exchanged points after half-time but while Galway lost Cillian McDaid to a black card, they outscored Cavan by two points to one while down a man for ten minutes.
Jack Brady tied the sides at 0-8 each with a superb point from a sideline on the right after 49 minutes but they didn’t score again until injury-time.
Galway opened up a two points lead for the first time when Heaney and Gary O’Donnell found the target.
But then Cavan lost three players to black cards with Reilly, Killian Brady and Killian Clarke spending ten minutes in the sin bin along with Galway’s Cooke.
The Tribesmen extended their lead to 0-12 to 0-8 thanks to efforts from Ian Burke and Heaney.
Another free by Walsh put five between them but a free from Reilly and a good effort from Cian Mackey reduced the margin to a goal.
That gap was reduced to two with a free from Conor Madden but Cavan never looked like getting a goal to snatch it.
Galway: R Lavelle; D Wynne, S A Ó Ceallaigh, E Kerin; G O’Donnell (0-1), L Silke, S Kelly; C Duggan, T Flynn; C McDaid, P Cooke (0-1), J Heaney (0-3); P Cunningham (0-2), I Burke (0-1), S Walsh (0-4, 0-4 frees). Subs: G Bradshaw (0-1) for Wynne (20 mins), D Cummins for Cunningham (65 mins), C D’Arcy for Flynn (70 mins), J Duane for Burke (72 mins).
Cavan: R Galligan (0-1, 0-1 free); J McLoughlin, K Clarke, P Faulkner; M Reilly (0-3, 0-2 free), B Fortune, C Rehill; T Galligan, M Argue; P Smith (0-2, 0-2 frees), J Brady (0-2, 0-1 sideline), N Murray; C Brady, D McVeety, C Madden (0-2, 0-1 frees). Subs: K Brady for Fortune (35), K Tierney for Argue (57), P Graham for Smith (61), C Mackey (0-1) for T Galligan (65), L Fortune for Faulkner (66).
Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary).