Galway qualified for the National Football League Final on Sunday (March 11th) after holding off a late Monaghan surge to get their fifth Division One win from as many games.
Kieran Hughes’ late strike was the first goal conceded by the Tribesmen in the campaign though Owen Duffy came close to another. But with Paul Conroy, Johnny Heaney, Damien Comer, Barry McHugh and Adrian Varley kicking points, Galway booked their place in a Croke Park decider.
To top off a great weekend for the Northern Gaels, here are the U12s providing the half time entertainment at the Galway v Monaghan Allianz Leagues Division 1 Match in Pearse Stadium. #AllBlacks #AllianzLeagues #GalvMon pic.twitter.com/IXZLvJq3El
— Glinsk GAA Club (@GlinskGAA) March 11, 2018
“Our concentration levels in the last few minutes wasn’t what it should have been,” said Galway manager Kevin Walsh to Declan Rooney in the Irish Independent. “Maybe it was because the cushion was there, that was what it could have been.
“We made a few subs as well so maybe it was a little bit of shape. It’s good to learn the lesson though and come out the right side of it. That’s something we will speak about during the week.
Galway took an early 0-5 to 0-3 lead through Conroy, McHugh and Comer but conceded four consecutive points before half-time. However, the sending-off of Monaghan captain Fintan Kelly for retaliation had a major influence on the result.
And the hosts responded in Pearse Stadium hitting six unanswered scores through Comer, Shane Walsh, McHugh (2), Eamonn Brannigan and Varley to take command in the second half.
“Before half-time there was 15 minutes where it was just flat, too flat for our liking,” added Walsh. “We got them back into the dressing room and had a few words and definitely the intensity levels lifted up higher.
“I’d be much happier with the second half, with the application levels and intensity, apart from a few instances in the last 20 minutes.”
The result means Galway will contest the league decider for the first time since 2006 and their next outing is a potential dress rehearsal against All-Ireland champions Dublin who also have maximum points.
“But I don’t think there was too many that said we would be unbeaten at this stage, including ourselves,” concluded Walsh. “Ten points out of ten is really, really good and we have our status for next year and we’ll see what happens after that.”
Galway’s next game in the Allianz National Football League Division One will be next Sunday (March 18th) against Dublin. Throw-in in Pearse Stadium is 2pm.
Galway: Ruairi Lavelle; Declan Kyne, Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh, Eoghan Kerin; Gary O’Donnell, Gareth Bradshaw, Cathal Sweeney; Paul Conroy (0-2), Ciarán Duggan; Johnny Heaney (0-2), Shane Walsh (0-1), Eamonn Brannigan (0-1); Patrick Sweeney, Damien Comer (0-3), Barry McHugh (0-5, all frees). Subs used: Seán Armstrong (0-01, free) for Patrick Sweeney (9 mins), Peter Cooke for Duggan (48 mins), Adrian Varley (0-2) for Walsh (49 mins), Seán Kelly for O’Donnell (55 mins), Thomas Flynn for Heaney (69 mins), Frankie Burke for McHugh (70 mins).
Monaghan: Rory Beggan (0-1, ’45); Ryan Wylie, Kieran Duffy, Conor Boyle; Karl O’Connell, Paraic McGuirk, Vinny Corey; Kieran Hughes (1-3), Niall Kearns; Ryan McAnespie, Neil McAdam, Fintan Kelly; Conor McManus (0-4, three frees), Jack McCarron (0-2, one free), Michéal Bannigan. Subs: Dessie Ward for Bannigan (36 mins), Drew Wylie for McGuirk (44 mins), Darren Hughes for McAdam (46 mins), Conor McCarthy for McCarron (50 mins), Owen Duffy for Corey (59 mins).
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry)
Galway have beaten Monaghan in the Allianz Football league Round 5! See the Full-Time Highlights here on GAANOW! pic.twitter.com/rZjQkVzWOU
— The GAA (@officialgaa) March 11, 2018