NUI Galway 0-17 IT Blanchardstown 1-4
Despite a 10-point win, NUI Galway manager Tommy Joyce called for improved performance levels from his side against Belfast's St Mary's in the next round after they cruised past IT Blanchardstown at Dangan.
It was a routine start to the Sigerson Cup campaign for the hosts who were rarely troubled on their way through this preliminary-round tie, despite each side having a man sent off in the first half.
John Comerford goaled for IT Blanchardstown in the last minute, but NUI Galway held their opponents scoreless from the 17th minute to the 38th, led by 0-9 to 0-3 at half-time and slotted seven unanswered points.
“The forwards didn’t function as they should have done and we will have to up it big time for St Mary’s next week,” said Joyce.
“Saying all that the defence played well and the defence has been playing well since we got together in October
"We just need some more lads to show up a bit better but I suppose we do have some injuries and then you had Adrian Varley getting that red card early so it was difficult," he said.
Varley was shown black after an earlier yellow and subsequently left the field in the 20th minute – 10 minutes after Dylan Stephens was shown the line for an incident involving the same player.
Midfielder Eoghan Mac Philibin had given the Dublin side the lead in the second minute and a Peadar Ó Griofa free levelled it moments later.
NUI Galway went on to dominate the half, rangy No 8 David Cunnane popped up for two huge scores.
They led by six at half-time and afterwards it was all about Ó Griofa until he was injured and left the field holding his shoulder in the 46th minute. He had kicked six points before his exit, but the hosts could still call on the class of Cian Connolly to finish off the job.
NUI GALWAY: D O'Sullivan; D Murray, J Kennedy, L Cullen; R Kiely (0-2), J McManus, A Nolan; D Cunnane (0-2), E Lavin; R Feeney (0-1), S Moran, C Davey; P Ó Griofa (0-6, two frees), A Varley, C Connolly (0-4).
Subs: R Connellan for Lavin (19 mins), K Gibbons for O Griofa (46 mins), C Rattigan for Nolan (50 mins), B Walsh for Kennedy (50 mins), C Brennan (0-1) for Connolly (53 mins), N Hickey (0-1) for Feeney (56 mins)
IT BLANCHARDSTOWN: M Carey; D Stephens, C McGill, S Coffey; B McNamara, J Comerford (1-0), D Courtney; J McAleer, E Mac Philibin (0-2, one free, one 45); J O'Donnell, C Jennings, D Slattery (0-1); G McCoy, G Geraghty (0-1), S Smullen.
Subs: S Corcoran for Smullen, P Bourke for McNamara (both 35 mins).
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo).