Galway lose way after solid start but still rescue a draw

This was a strange encounter at Pearse Stadium yesterday.

Less than 20 minutes into this entertaining contest it looked as if there could only be one winner.

Galway were 1-5 to 0-2 to the good and had wind advantage to come in the second-half.

Yet, by the end of the game the Tribesmen were lucky to have got a draw after Louth recovered to take control of proceedings and Peter Fitzpatrick’s men had enough chances to win it themselves in the closing stages.

Galway’s good win in Derry last week helped create a lot of optimism and it seemed well-founded as they dismantled Louth early on.

But they lost their way in midfield where last year’s U-21 pairing Thomas Flynn and Fiontain Ó Curraoin were given a lesson.

Galway manager Alan Mulholland, who guided that U-21 side to victory last year has been warning that it will take time to mould these players into contenders, and he was disappointed they did not build on their great start yesterday.

“We had scored 1-5 in the first 15 odd minutes and we only finished up with 1-8. You could take that as a great start or a poor finish I suppose. We started extremely well and we are a bit disappointed that we couldn’t see it through after that,” he said.

Galway raced into a 1-5 to 0-2 after just 20 minutes playing against the wind — but managed just three points after that as Louth took control of midfield and worked hard.

Louth boss Peter Fitzpatrick praised his men for the manner in which they recovered from a nightmare start.

“People may say we lost two points here, but I must say I am very happy with a draw. In the first half things didn’t look too well, we were five or six points down and in fairness they got stuck in and were just two behind at half time.

“But in the second half it just goes to show how important having a panel is because we threw in five subs and a few fresh legs.”

It didn’t look good for Louth when Galway raced into a 1-5 to 0-2 lead by the 20th minute — Danny Cummins notching the goal.

Cummins added a point shortly afterwards and Nicky Joyce, Michael Martin and Flynn also found the range, but Louth rallied and landed five points in-a-row, with Darren Clarke getting two of them.

Galway were very disappointing in the second-half, scoring just two points with the wind at their back, yet Louth never led after the restart.

Andy McDowell saw a late goal effort deflected off one of his own players, and Adrian Reid pointed to level the game after 50 minutes.

Paul Conroy edged Galway in front before sub Eoin O’Connor restored parity with 14 minutes remaining.

Galway wing-back Gareth Bradshaw, who scored 1-1 in the win over Derry, raced forward to notch his second point but while Jim McEneaney levelled with three minutes left, Louth missed a few late chances to win it at the end of a contest that will have served both counties well.

Galway scorers: D Cummins (1-1); M Martin (0-2, 1f); G Bradshaw (0-2); N Joyce (0-1); T Flynn (0-1); P Conroy (0-1).

Louth scorers: D Clarke (0-3, 1f); P Keenan (0-1); D Crilly (0-1); R Carroll (0-1); M Brennan (0-1); A Reid (0-1); J McEneaney (0-1); A McDonnell (0-1); E O’Connor (0-1)

GALWAY: A Faherty; C Forde, F Hanley, K Kelly; G Bradshaw, J Duane, G O’Donnell; T Flynn, F Ó Curraoin; G Sice, P Conroy, M Hehir; M Martin, N Joyce, D Cummins.

Subs: C Bane for Conroy, 52; C Doherty for Hehir, 52; s Maughan for Martin, 59;

LOUTH: N Gallagher; P Rath, D Finnegan, G Hoey; R Finnegan, J Carr, L Shevlin; P Keenan, B Donnelly; D Crilly, R Carroll, A Reid; M Brennan, A McDonnell, D Clarke.

Subs: JP Rooney for Clarke, 52; E O’Connor for Reid, 52; D Byrne for D Finnegan, 62; J McEneaney for Brennan, 63; A Hoey for Carroll, 65.

Referee: D Fahy (Longford).

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