RAY SILKE: Galway aren’t that good, but Rossies not that bad

A 14-point defeat is a bitter pill for any side to swallow.

What will make it ever worse from Roscommon’s perspective is their second half capitulation. This game was over with 25 minutes remaining.

Des Newton is in his first year as Roscommon chief and he will know now that he will have a lot more tough days in the gig, than glamorous ones.

So the question is twofold — Are Galway that good? Or were Roscommon that bad?

The answer is somewhere in between.

Galway were good in patches and had a nice shape to them. They played a two man full-forward line of Paul Conroy and Sean Armstrong, with Mark Hehir in a withdrawn role and young Tomás Flynn, who stands well over six foot supporting his midfield.

It worked yesterday, but, Roscommon were incredibly naïve at the back and played with no support players in defence.

They went out to take Galway on, man for man at the back — and it backfired. Badly.

Galway will not have it so easy again in the forward department for the rest of the year. Their next opposition will have studied the video and won’t leave the acres of space which allowed Paul Conroy hit 1-4 from play and give Niall Carty a torrid time.

All of Conroy’s scores were good efforts and the 2007 All-Ireland minor winning captain has adapted very well to his new role on the edge of the square. He is two footed and is a big man which is a huge asset for any number fourteen, particularly with the change to the square ball rule.

Other pluses for the Tribesmen were that Joe Bergin continued his impressive League form. He was a powerful force at midfield and was the dominant performer in that area throughout.

Roscommon were rocked by the early withdrawal of Michael Finneran after 10 minutes with an ankle injury, and his aerial power was badly missed. Newton was forced to put wing back Ian Kilbride to midfield and it weakened their chances of success enormously.

Galway’s Gary Sice was highly effective at wing-forward and hit 1-3. Gareth Bradshaw embellished his reputation too, and his first point after only 14 seconds set the tone for the day and his direct opponent, John Rodgers was replaced long before half-time. Johnny Duane who was Mulholland’s centre back in the U21 success last year had a good game too and he put in some top class deliveries to Conroy, who is his club-mate with St. James.

While Mulholland will be pleased to have got Galway’s campaign off to a winning start, he will know that tougher games lie ahead.

For now though he has three weeks to plan for the arrival of Sligo to Pearse Stadium on June 9. Kevin Walsh (his former team-mate with Galway) was at the game yesterday in Hyde Park and he will have learned plenty from yesterday’s 70 minutes. The Yeats men beat Galway in a replay in the Connacht championship two years ago and they won’t fear the trip.

However the confidence from yesterday’s game will have been a tonic for Mulholland’s troops and the return of Michael Meehan to competitive action was another big boost. Meehan hit two points and looked extremely sharp when setting up Sice for his goal.

The Galway players are back with their clubs next weekend and they will then have a fortnight to prepare for the Sligo game.

They won’t have it as easy as they had it yesterday, but their belief will be high and a home Connacht final is a big prize.


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