Roscommon 0-10 Galway 3-15
Alan Mulholland’s first Championship match in charge of Galway finished in a comfortable win for the Tribesmen over hosts Roscommon at Dr Hyde Park this afternoon.
The Rossies could not live with the skill and score-getting prowess of the Galway forwards, who were bolstered by the returning Michael Meehan and Padraic Joyce in the second half.
Goals from Mark Hehir and Paul Conroy steered Mulholland’s men into a 2-8 to 0-6 lead at the break.
Roscommon were reliant on free-takers Senan Kilbride and Donie Shine for half of their 0-10 haul as they struggled to build attacks in open play.
Substitute Meehan put his injury troubles behind him by landing two points and teeing up Gary Sice for Galway’s clinching third goal.
The result gives them plenty of momentum for a Connacht semi-final clash with Sligo in Salthill in two weeks’ time.
Roscommon had made a promising start with Kilbride and midfielder Karol Mannion replying to Galway’s opening point from Garreth Bradshaw after just 15 seconds.
Mulholland’s men blitzed the hosts over the next 15 minutes though, putting on an excellent display of attack building and clinical finishing.
They rattled out off 2-5 without reply with the highlights being the goals from Hehir and Conroy.
Roscommon looked unsettled after losing midfielder Michael Finneran to an early injury and it showed. The 12,962-strong crowd saw Hehir profit from a mistake from John Rogers as he netted in the 11th minute.
Sean Armstrong added a point for a 1-3 to 0-2 lead and Bradshaw notched his second of the day, allied to two Gary Sice frees, as Galway found their rhythm against the now rudderless hosts.
Johnny Duane’s long ball in was gathered superbly by Conroy whose low finish past goalkeeper Geoffrey Claffey was of a similar variety. The full-forward’s memorable effort moved his side 2-6 to 0-2 clear.
Kilbride stopped the rot for the Rossies before Sice and Joe Bergin added to Galway’s growing haul. Donie Shine, having hit some poor wides, restored some confidence for Roscommon by landing a free.
Cathal Cregg chipped in with a rousing score from play in injury-time and Kilbride kicked his third of the half before referee Joe McQuillan blew for half-time.
There was a sense that Roscommon were well and truly on the comeback trail when Shine (free) and substitute David O’Gara sent over two more scores at the start of the second half.
But Galway had plenty of ammunition in their ranks to see off the challenge of the home side. Mulholland turned to his bench and the introduction of Joyce got them back on course.
Conroy and Meehan got the scoreboard ticking again for their side before O’Gara collected his second of the afternoon for Roscommon.
Galway made certain of the win with closing points from Bergin, defender Kieran McGrath and top scorer Conroy. Ger Heneghan was Roscommon’s final scorer.
The cherry on top for the Tribesmen was Sice’s first ever Championship goal in the 63rd minute, with a brilliant assist provided by Meehan.
The sight of Meehan in Galway colours is a huge fillip for the county’s supporters after he was told he would never play again after undergoing surgery on a troublesome ankle injury.
Scorers - Roscommon: S Kilbride 0-3 (0-2f), D Shine (0-2f), D O'Gara 0-02, K Mannion, C Cregg, G Henehgan 0-1 each
Galway: P Conroy 1-4, G Sice 1-3 (0-2f), M Hehir 1-0, M Meehan (0-1f), G Bradshaw, J Bergin 0-2 each, S Armstrong, K McGrath 0-1 each
ROSCOMMON: G Claffey; S McDermott, N Carty, S Purcell; C Dineen, P Domican, I Kilbride; M Finneran, K Mannion; D Keenan, C Cregg, J Rogers; S Kilbride, D McDermott, D Shine.
Subs used: N Daly for Finneran (10 mins), D O'Gara for Rogers (25), G Henehan for Keenan (47), K Higgins for D McDermott (54), C Shine for S Kilbride (55).
GALWAY: A Faherty; K McGrath, F Hanley, K Kelly; G Bradshaw, J Duane, G O'Donnell; J Bergin, G Higgins; G Sice, D Burke, T Flynn; S Armstrong, P Conroy, M Hehir.
Subs used: M Meehan for Armstrong (47 mins), P Joyce for Burke, T Fahy for O'Donnell (both 53), D Cummins for Hehir (55), M Boyle for Sice (67).
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)