Galway up and running with easy Westmeath victory
Tribesmen make light work of opponents in Mullingar to start leage campaign in style
Galway’s Jarlath Mannion holds off Weatmeath’s Conor Shaw in Mullingar. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Galway 5-34 Westmeath 1-16
Galway had their expected facile win against Westmeath in pleasant conditions in Mullingar on Saturday, the visitors always in control of a one-sided match.
Much of the pre-match focus centred on Westmeath debutant and former All-Ireland winner with Galway, Davy Glennon, but he was anonymous for most of the game despite concluding the scoring by pointing with time almost up.
Niall O’Brien’s excellent free-taking skills were obvious from an early stage and he kept the home side in touch early on. Galway’s first goal came in the tenth minute from Conor Whelan at the end of a counterattack after Darragh Clinton had missed a great point opportunity.
The Tribesmen led by 1-7 to 0-6 by the first water break, but they doubled their goal tally shortly after play resumed courtesy of Niall Burke, after Eoin Skelly had kept out Brian Concannon’s initial strike.
Ciaran Doyle scored a magnificent point for Shane O’Brien’s charges in the 29th pulling on the ball in mid-air from an acute angle. However, it was virtually all Galway at this juncture with Evan Niland converting frees from a range of angles. Jarlath Mannion pounced for Galway’s third goal in the 33rd minute and his wind-assisted side led by 3-18 to 0-10 at the interval.
Despite playing with the wind on the change of ends Westmeath never threatened to bridge the deficit. Brian Conacannon became the last of the winners’ forwards to score with a great goal less than four minutes after the resumption.
Eight minutes later, Westmeath sub Niall Mitchell availed of an error by Galway custodian Eanna Murphy to score an opportunist goal. The Tribesmen’s fifth goal came directly after the second water break when Conor Cooney found the net.
Both sides were awarded a penalty late in the game, with Conor Cooney pointing for Shane O’Neill’s troops, while Niall O’Brien fluffed his opportunity for the losers.
Galway: E Murphy; S Loftus, G McInerney, J Fitzpatrick; A Harte (0-1), S Cooney (0-2), F Burke (0-2, one sideline); J Coen (0-1), C Mannion (0-3); C Cooney 2(1-5, 0-1pen), E Niland (0-12, 10 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, 10 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), S Clavin for Greville (62 mins).
Referee: S Stack (Dublin).