Galway much too strong for outclassed Westmeath

Tribesmen on a completely different level as they ease to a 30-point triumph

Galway 5-34 Westmeath 1-16

Galway were never tested by Westmeath in Mullingar on Saturday afternoon, Shane O’Neill’s troops coasting to victory by a 30-point margin.

O’Neill conceded that they got off to a sluggish start: “You could see that we were very rusty in the first quarter and we probably lacked a bit of composure, but we came into it then and started making some good decisions.”

First-half goals from Conor Whelan, Niall Burke and Jarlath Mannion propelled Galway to a 3-18 to 0-10 wind-assisted lead at the interval, albeit Ciarán Doyle's sensational point for the home team in the 29th minute was the main talking point at the break.

Evan Niland, a potential heir to the throne of the watching Joe Canning, was the game’s top scorer with 13 points.

“Evan was slightly off in the first quarter, but he really came into after that. He’s a very good striker of the ball and he got some great scores,” O’Neill opined.

Brian Concannon and Conor Cooney added further goals on the change of ends, with sub Niall Mitchell availing of an error by goalkeeper Éanna Murphy for Westmeath's only three-pointer.

Both sides were awarded a penalty late in the game, with Conor Cooney pointing for Galway, while Niall O’Brien – whose free-taking had been very impressive – mishit the losers’ opportunity.

Ironically, Westmeath’s high-profile debutant, the largely-anonymous Davy Glennon, rounded off the scoring against his former colleagues with a last-gasp point.

Westmeath manager Shane O’Brien offered no excuses. “Galway were on another level to us today,” he said.

GALWAY: E Murphy; S Loftus, G McInerney, J Fitzpatrick; A Harte (0-1), S Cooney (0-2), F Burke (0-2, 1 lineball); J Coen (0-1), C Mannion (0-2); C Cooney (1-5, 0-1pen), E Niland (0-13, ten frees), B Concannon (1-0); J Mannion (1-3), N Burke (1-5), C Whelan (1-0). Subs: D Morrissey for Fitzpatrick (22 mins), TJ Brennan for Harte (44 mins), J Cooney for Concannon (44 mins), D Kilcommins for C Mannion (52 mins), K Cooney for Whelan (52 mins), J Flynn for Niland (56 mins), D Cronin for Loftus (56 mins).

WESTMEATH: E Skelly; D Egerton, T Doyle, C Shaw; A Cox, A Craig, D McNicholas; R Greville, D Glennon (0-1); J Boyle (0-1), C Doyle (0-2), J Galvin; N O'Brien (0-11, ten frees), D Clinton, S Williams (0-1). Subs: N Mitchell (1-0) for Galvin (21 mins), T Gallagher for Cox (half-time), J Coll for Clinton (42 mins), K Regan for McNicholas (50 mins), P Scally for Gallagher (blood, 53-58 mins), S Clavin for Greville (62 mins).

Referee: S Stack (Dublin).