Galway impress against shot shy Saffrons

Walsh Cup Leinster Hurling –  Group One

Galway 1-31 Antrim 2-15

Henry Shefflin’s Galway were just too sharp for Antrim at Darver on Saturday in the Walsh Cup as they ran up a big score in this, the final round, of group games.

Galway’s ability to pick off their scores was to prove vital, as Antrim were off target on too many occasions to be competitive. The Saffrons had plenty of possession during the opening quarter but just one point from six early attempts put them on the back foot. Galway on the other hand were much more economical, and had 13 different players on the scoreboard. The looked like running away with the game nearing half time, but a great save by goalkeeper Ciaran Smyth and a goal shortly afterwards at the other end from corner forward Rian McMullan kept the Saffrons in touch and they went in at the break just six in arrears.

Rian McMullan (15) fires in Antrim’s opening goal just before half time

Despite the defeat there were many things in the performance to be optimistic about and in team captain Eoghan Campbell they had a player who matched anything on show.  

Jason Flynn put Galway ahead and they went two clear before  McKenna hit back for the Saffrons. However they were paying the price for wayward shooting, but despite being off target on five occasions they managed to draw level on 3 points apiece.

The Tribesmen upped the pace and soon they had drawn well clear as Collins and Mannion picked off some excellent scores.

Late replacement Seamus McAuley pulled on back but Galway all but put the game beyond them as they came back with a goal and five, the goal coming from full forward Jarlath Mannion.  

The gap was soon out to ten and it looked like it would be more when Mannion got in on goal once again, but a great save from Tiernan Smyth turned the ball onto the crossbar and when Rian McMullan fired home at the other end soon afterwards the gap was back to a respectable six points by the time refeee Eamonn Furlong sounded the half time whistle

Antrim captain Eoghan Campbell in action against Galway’s Sean Linnane

Antrim needed a good start to the second half if they were to stay within touch, but when the Tribesmen opened with five points on the spin the gap was simply too big.

Galway kept their foot to the pedal and increase their lead, but ‘Sammy’ O’Neill kept Antrim’s slim hopes alive when he won a stray puc-out and fired it back past Fahy in the Galway goal

As a raft of substitutes were introduced Antrim managed to match Galway in the final quarter with substitutes as Paul Boyle, Conor Johnston and Gerard Walsh all got on the scoreboard, but the Galway were home and hosed by this stage as they set up a final meeting with Wexford at Croke Park next weekend.

Antrim substitute ‘Bicky’ McGarry in action against Galway’s John Cooney

ANTRIM: T Smyth; D McMullan, P Burke, N O’Connor; C McKernan, E Campbell, S Walsh; D McKernan, J Maskey (0-1); M Bradley (0-1), S McAuley (0-1), N McKenna (0-4); E O’Neill (1-0), N McManus (0-4, 3f), R McMullan (1-0)

Subs: G Walsh (0-1) for C McKernan (46), E McAlonan (0-1) for D McKernan (46), C Johnston (0-1) for R McMullan (46), S Rooney for S Walsh (46), P Boyle (0-1) for J Maskey (46), E Og McGarry for N McKenna (56), A Bradley for S McAuley (60), E Trainor for D McMullan (65), C McGarry for E O’Neill (65)

GALWAY: M Fahy; O Salmon, J Fitzpatrick, D Morrissey; S Ryan, Joseph Cooney (0-1), J Canning (0-1); R Glennon (0-1), G Lee (0-2); S O’Hanlon (0-4), J Flynn (0-6, 3f, 2 65s), K Hanney (0-2); M Kennedy (0-1), J Mannion (1-3), L Collins (0-6)

Subs: J Grealish for J Canning (HT), D MacLoughlin (0-2) for J Mannion (46), K Cooney for L Collins (49), C Fahy (0-1) for K Hanney (53), E Murphy for M Fahy (55), John Cooney for M Kennedy (59), T Monaghan (0-1) for Joseph Cooney (60), S Linnane for D Morrissey (65)

REFEREE: Eamonn Furlong (Wexford)

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