Cooney’s double helps Galway see off 14-man Offaly
All-Ireland champions ease into quarter-finals with third win of the campaign
Joseph Cooney: scored both goals for Galway in the win over Offaly at Pearse Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Galway 2-19 Offaly 0-14
Galway manager Micheál Donoghue credited a purple patch either side of half-time as the key to their third win of the league campaign.
The reigning champions were never really troubled at Pearse Stadium and pushed on to book a quarter-final place with two games to go.
“I think we finished the first half well and started the second half with 1-2 in quick succession which probably put a bit of light into it,” said Donoghue.
Galway led by 1-9 to 0-8 at half-time after Joseph Cooney got in for the first of his two goals after eight minutes.
Offaly, having started brightly when they opened up a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after seven minutes, could thank goalkeeper Eoghan Cahill for keeping them in the game as he produced some superb saves.
He did well to deny Paul Flaherty and Cooney, but Offaly’s hopes of victory suffered a double setback in the early stages of the second half.
Cooney got in for his second goal of the game and then Offaly centre-forward Shane Kinsella was red-carded for an incident with Flaherty.
Offaly, hoping to bounce back after their loss to Limerick last time out, were left with a mountain to climb after that as they trailed by 2-11 to 0-8.
Offaly, in fairness, did not give up and substitute Tommy Geraghty laid down a marker when he hit three points in the second half after being introduced.
But they really needed a goal or two and never looked like achieving that against a Galway defence which had Gearóid McInerney back for his first start of the season.
Cahill produced another good save to deny Davy Glennon and while Shane Dooley added a few frees for Offaly when he came on but they never looked like staging a big comeback.
Galway continued to add scores from all angles and while Conor Cooney accumulated six wides on a day when he scored 0-7, the Tribesmen were never troubled.
Cathal Mannion brought his haul to 0-5 from play, while newcomer Loftus laid down a marker on a day when Kevin McHugo and Jack Coyne made their senior debuts for Galway.
Offaly got a late penalty but Galway goalkeeper James Skehill produced a great save to deny Dooley as they failed to find the net for the second game in a row.
They will now hope to get to winning ways when they entertain neighbours Laois next time out, while Galway will get another chance to experiment away to Dublin next weekend before hosting Limerick in what will probably be a promotion decider at Pearse Stadium in a fortnight.
GALWAY: J Skehill; A Tuohy, P Mannion, S Bannon; S Cooney, G McInerney, A Harte; J Coen, S Loftus (0-3); J Cooney (2-1), C Mannion (0-5), P Flaherty (0-2); C Cooney (0-7, 0-4 frees), C Whelan, D Glennon. Subs: N Burke (0-1) for J Cooney (39 mins), B Concannon for Whelan (52 mins), B Flaherty for Harte (59 mins), K McHugo for Coen (66 mins), J Coyne for Glennon (69 mins).
OFFALY: E Cahill; B Conneely, S Gardiner, T Spain; D O’Toole, P Camon, J Quinn; D King (0-1), P Delaney; C Gath, S Kinsella (0-2), O Kelly; D Egan (0-3, 0-3 frees), C Mahon, D Currams (0-3). Subs: D Shortt for Quinn (36 mins), T Geraghty (0-3) for Delaney (36 mins), C Egan for Gath (48 mins), S Dooley (0-2, 0-2 frees) for King (52 mins), J Bergin for Kelly (65 mins).
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork)