A second-half penalty from Tommy Walsh edged a tight contest in favour of the Mervue/Renmore men, who join the big hitters in tonight’s last eight draw.
Conroy landed three points before the break, but fellow county stars Johnny Duane and Eoin Concannon also weighed in as James’ opened a 0-7 to 0-4 advantage at half-time.
Walsh tucked away his spot kick in the 37th minute to give St James a five-point lead and two more points from the outstanding Conroy saw the 2010 intermediate champions into the hat for the quarter-finals.
One of the favourites for outright victory, Milltown, eased into the next round after a 3-14 to 0-5 victory over Gaeltacht side Carna-Caiseal with James Kavanagh, Mark Hehir and Micheal Martin in flying form.
Fergal Nicholson hit his first of two goals for the north Galway men in the first-half to give them a 2-7 to 0-3 advantage at the break.
The two-times champions held Carna-Caiseal to just two more points in the second-half as further goals from Nicholson and Tommy Rynn saw them pick up the facile victory.
Cortoon Shamrocks claimed the final spot in the last eight draw after a 1-9 to 0-8 triumph over the newly-promoted Kilconly at Tuam Stadium.
A goal from Fergal Heverin 12 minutes into the second-half was the difference between the sides as Cortoon Shamrocks continue to impress with their youthful outfit.
Forced to line out without Galway U21 and senior star Adrian Varley, Cortoon trailed until Heverin was quickest to react after David Finnegan saw his shot crash back off the post, but they held solid late on to take the win.
Brian and Shane Gilmore both added quick points for the Shamrocks after their goal to open out a 1-8 to 0-7 advantage, but Kilconly’s challenge petered out in the closing stages.
Winner of three of the last nine Galway titles, Killererin, have avoided relegation to intermediate grade with a 2-13 to 0-9 win over Moycullen. Moycullen face Caherlistrane in the relegation decider. The three winners of this weekend’s games will join defending champions Salthill/Knocknacarra, Corofin, Caltra, Naomh Anna Leitir Mór and St Micheal’s in tonight’s draw.