Galway hurlers have received a timely boost with Joseph Cooney marking his return from Australia by turning in a superb performance for his club Sarsfields at the weekend.
Cooney only returned home a few days ago but lined out at full-forward for Sarsfields against Kilnadeema-Leitrim.
And Cooney, who played hurling for the Michael Cusack’s club in Sydney, looked sharp throughout.
Indeed, it took him less than two minutes to rattle the net for a goal and he also picked off some excellent points in a top-class display.
Cooney’s Sarsfields, who had opened their campaign with a win over neighbours Cappataggle, were made battle all the way before securing a 3-13 to 1-22 victory over a Kilnadeema-Leitrim side who hit back with goals Jack Kenny, Brian Molloy and Vinnie Kenny.
There was a further boost for the Galway management with Conor Cooney returning to action for St Thomas’ after suffering an ankle injury in their opening round loss to Liam Mellows.
Cooney was fit to start against Tommy Larkins as the reigning Galway champions sought to get the defence of their county title back on track.
And Cooney was to the fore along with Galway captain David Burke as they carved out a 2-15 to 1-8 win.
Meanwhile, Galway full-back Daithí Burke led the way as Turloughmore made it two wins from two before the championship breaks until September with a 1-20 to 2-11 win over Liam Mellows.
Loughrea looked set for a second win when they opened up a 2-9 to 0-6 interval lead thanks to goals from Jamie Ryan and Ian Hanrahan but two goals from Ger O’Donoghue helped Gort secure a 2-14 apiece draw.
All-Ireland winner Paul Flaherty scored 1-6 for Abbeyknockmoy but it wasn’t enough to prevent a second loss when they went down 2-21 to 1-18 to a Killimordaly side who had also won their opening game.
Intermediate champions Oranmore-Maree, having won their opening match, drew 1-11 to 0-14 against Ahascragh-Fohenagh with Sean McInerney, brother of Galway star Gearoid, scoring the only goal.
Clarinbridge secured a second win with a 3-15 to 0-17 victory over neighbours Ballinderreen, while a goal from county player Thomas
Monaghan helped Craughwell defeat Beagh by 1-19 to 0-14.
Two goals from Noel Keogh saw Athenry chalk up their second win by 2-14 to 1-13 against Padraig Pearses, while Davy Glennon’s goal helped Mullagh to a 1-28 to 1-15 win over a Ardrahan side for whom Jason Kennedy found the net.
Portumna, without the injured Joe Canning, have lost both their opening games after going down 2-25 to 1-16 to Castlegar. Enda Concannon’s goal helped Castlegar lead 1-14 to 0-10 at the break and while Ronan O’Meara found the net early in the second-half before being sent off, a late goal from Mike Fahy crowned the win.
Two other teams who had lost their opening games clashed in Ballinasloe with Cappataggle coming from six points down with 20 minutes left to win by 3-17 to 2-13 against Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry, with Micheal Garvey scoring two late goals to complete the comeback.