Galway……………………….1-14

Meath………………………….0-6

 

In the minds of most Meath fans losing this opening round Allianz League division2 tie to a decent Galway side would have been acceptable.

However to fail to score for the entire first half and turn in a performance so bereft of effort that supporters were streaming for the exit long before the final whistle does not sit well with anyone.

The old saying that nothings so bad it couldn’t be worse certainly applies here as but for a superb Harry Hogan save and a last ditch clearance by Shane McEntee Galway could have had two more goals.

Meath failed to score in the opening half, having played against the wind and they were left with a mountain to climb when they turned around trailing by 1-09 to 0-00.

They never looked like staging a comeback, only getting their first score after 45 minutes from Joey Wallace and having to wait another 12 minutes before they got their next score as Galway continued to dominate.

Galway used the wind well and showed good patience in building moves and with frees inevitable in the difficult conditions, Shane Walsh made them pay, landing five from placed balls and one from play in an opening half of dominance.

They opened up a 0-03 to 0-00 lead after 12 minutes when the impressive Cillian McDaid went forward to score after a couple of early points from Walsh.

Two more frees from Walsh pushed Galway clear and then when Meath full-back Ronan Ryan, a late replacement for the injured Conor McGill, dropped a sideline from Walsh, Tomo Culhane pounced to punch the ball to the net and leave them 1-05 to 0-00 in front after 28 minutes.

The Tribesmen pushed on from there and added two more frees from Walsh, while debutant Owen Gallagher, the former Antrim player, crowned a good display with a point.

Galway finished the half strongly and would have been even further ahead but Meath goalkeeper Harry Hogan managed to tip a shot from Rob Finnerty over the bar for them to lead by 1-09 to 0-00 at the break.

Meath needed a good start to the second-half but Galway held possession for almost three minutes after the restart before Walsh kicked his second point from play and Paul Kelly followed with another one directly afterwards to lead by 14 points, with Meath hitting four wides in the opening eight minutes of the second period.

Meath finally got off the mark after 45 minutes when Joey Wallace kicked a point from 40 metres but it took them another 12 minutes to add to it when substitute Jordan Morris pointed to make it 1-11 to 0-02 after 57 minutes.

Morris also added a free but Galway continued to extend their lead through Finnerty and Walsh as they ran out comfortable winners.

Galway: Conor Flaherty; Kieran Molloy (0-01), Seán Kelly, Liam Silke; Dylan McHugh, John Daly, Cillian McDaid (0-01); Paul Kelly, Paul Conroy; Matthew Tierney, Owen Gallagher (0-01), Finnian Ó Laoí; Tomo Culhane (1-00), Rob Finnerty (0-02), Shane Walsh (0-08, 6f).

Subs: Cathal Sweeney for Culhane (44), Paddy Kelly (0-01) for Ó Laoí (55), Tony Gill for McDaid (63), Cormac McWalter for Walsh (66).

Meath: Harry Hogan; Eoin Harkin (0-01), Ronan Ryan, Robin Clarke; Cathal Hickey, Shane McEntee, Donal Keogan; Padraic Harnan, Ethan Devine; Mathew Costello (0-1), Bryan McMahon, Cillian O’Sullivan; James Conlon, Shane Walsh (0-01), Joey Wallace (0-01).

Subs: Jordan Morris (0-02, 1f) for McMahon (30), Thomas O’Reilly for Conlon (46), Eamon Wallace for O’Sullivan (48), Sarán Ó Fionnagáin for Wallace (53), Gavin McGowan for Hickey (64).

Referee: Patrick Maguire (Longford).