Pádraic Joyce far from happy as ‘very sluggish’ Galway see off Offaly

Home side fail to build on a blistering start in Salthill

Galway 2-17 Offaly 3-10

Galway manager Pádraic Joyce was far from happy despite his side continuing their promotion drive from Division Two with a fourth win of the campaign at Pearse Stadium.

Galway held an edge throughout but it took them a long time to make the game safe and Joyce reckons they will need to improve a lot if they are to make an immediate return to the top flight.

“We wouldn’t be at all happy with the performance to be honest,” said Joyce. “At the same time it is one of them games, it was very hard to get them into it, to get going. We did enough to get the two points, we were very, very sluggish in a lot of places.”

Galway looked set for an easy win against an Offaly side still looking for their first victory of the campaign after a good contest in benign conditions at the Salthill venue.

But they did not build on a blistering start when Matthew Tierney fired over a couple of points and Damien Comer finished to the net to lead by 1-2 to 0-0 after just nine minutes.

Offaly, with only Rory Egan from their victorious All-Ireland U20 team starting, didn't panic and after Dylan Hyland got them off the mark with a point, Bernard Allen shot to the net to cut the gap to 1-2 to 1-1 after 11 minutes.

Galway captain Seán Kelly, a late replacement, and the impressive Paul Conroy hit back with points before Hyland got his second of the match.

Veterans Niall McNamee and Conroy exchanged points before Comer fired over two in a minute to lead by 1-7 to 1-4 after 33 minutes.

Tierney tacked on his third point for the Tribesmen but Offaly finished the half well and cut the gap to two with efforts from Allen and another McNamee free.

Allen cut the gap to one two minutes after the restart but Galway upped the tempo after that and struck six points without reply for the remainder of the third quarter.

Rob Finnerty, who had been instrumental in setting up several scores in the opening half, kicked three of them with Comer, John Daly and sub Finnian Ó Laoí also finding the target.

Offaly were given a lifeline when Ruairí McNamee finished to the net after a point attempt from older cousin Niall McNamee came back off the left post to leave it 1-14 to 2-7 after 52 minutes. But Galway hit back immediately with Seán Kelly shooting to the net after a pass from sub Ó Laoí.

The Galway captain limped off shortly after that following another top-class display.

Offaly sub Anton Sullivan kicked three good points from play after coming on and also converted a penalty in the sixth minute of injury-time after Jack Bryant was fouled by Liam Silke. And while they are still searching for their first win of the campaign, manager John Maughan will be heartened by a lot of this performance.

GALWAY: C Gleeson; S Kelly (1-1), L Silke, J Glynn; C Campbell, J Daly (0-1), J Heaney; D McHugh, P Conroy (0-2); M Tierney (0-3), S Walsh, C Sweeney; R Finnerty (0-4, one free), D Comer (1-3), D Conneely.

Subs: F Ó Laoí (0-1) for Sweeney, P Kelly (0-1) for Campbell (both 28 mins), J McGrath for Heaney (47), E Finnerty for Walsh (60), T Culhane (0-1) for S Kelly (61).

OFFALY: I Duffy; D Hogan, J Lalor, N Darby; R Egan, D Dempsey, C Doyle; B Carroll, J Hayes; M Abbott (0-1), C Mangan, D Hyland (0-2); B Allen (1-2), N McNamee (0-2, two frees), R McNamee (1-0).

Subs: L Pearson for Doyle (45 mins), C Donoghue for Carroll (50), J Bryant for Allen, A Sullivan (1-3, 1-0 pen) for R McNamee (both 52), K O'Neill for N McNamee (66).

Referee: D Murnane (Cork).