Armstrong strikes late equaliser to keep Salthill in the hunt

SALTHILL/KNOCKNACARRA needed a Sean Armstrong point in added-time to grasp a draw after a terrific second-half comeback from Tuam Stars almost saw them reach their first Galway SFC final in 16 years.

Salthill/Knocknacarra got off to a flying start and Seamie Crowe, one of four survivors from their victorious 2005 campaign, was to the fore. He ran on to a hand pass over the Tuam Stars defence from Conor Healy before firing the ball to the back of Johnny Trayers’ net.

It took 18 minutes for Tuam Stars to get off the mark and it was an uncharacteristic handling error from Finian Hanley that let Shane Gaffney in for an easy point. Tom Burke and Healy points settled Salthill/Knocknacarra after 25 minutes but, from then to the break, Tuam Stars showed their worth.

Some direct running at the heart of the seasiders’ defence drew frees which Shane Curtin converted either side of a well taken score from centre-forward Jamie Murphy.

Burke added a splendid point to the half-time lead of 1-3 to 0-4 to give the home side a three-point cushion once more, but like they did against Mountbellew/Moylough the previous week, Tuam Stars dragged themselves back.

Murphy cut in off the right to hit the first of four consecutive points with Curtin, Gaffney and Darren Kelly also getting in on the act.

But Armstrong hit a great point on the turn a minute onto added time to force the replay.

Scorers of Salthill/Knocknacarra: S Crowe 1-1, T Burke 0-2 (1f), C Healy, S Armstrong 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tuam Stars: S Curtin 0-3 (2fs), S Gaffney, J Murphy 0-2 each, D Kelly 0-1.

SALTHILL/KNOCKNACARRA: G Rogers; C Begley, F Hanley, G Canavan; S Gavin, R McTiernan, P Fahy; S O’Reilly, J Boylan; C Halloran, A Callanan, T Burke; G O Leighinn, S Crowe, C Healy.

Subs: D O’Flaherty for Cavanan (9), S Armstrong for Healy (36), B Conlon for O Leeighinn (39), R Conlon for Burke (51), G Armstrong for Gavin (57).

TUAM STARS: J Trayers; A Tierney, I McGough, D O’Rourke; G O’Donnell, T Costello, D Connern; B Devaney, J Lawless; D Marley, J Murphy, N Henry; S Curtin, S Gaffney, C Doherty.

Subs: D Byrne for Lawless (18), D Kelly for Marley (53), D Murray for Gaffney (63).

Referee: B Kinneavy.

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