A blistering opening set Galway on their way to a 2-13 to 1-12 win over Meath in their Allianz Football League Division 2 tie today.
The westerners led by 1-5 to 0-1 after 14 minutes and it took a late Jamie Queeney goal to give the scoreline a slightly more flattering look for the Royals.
Danny Cummins had two points on the board by the time he got the final touch to claim the goal and Meath had no answer to Galway’s pace and movement.
They were accurate from placed balls though and did manage to reduce the margin to three at one stage via the boots of Michael Newman and Paddy O’Rourke.
It was 1-6 to 0-5 at half time and Meath were much improved in the second half. However, a goal from Shane Walsh gave Galway the vital breathing space to cruise home.
Two goals in the space of a minute snatched a dramatic 3-13 to 1-15 victory for Down over shellshocked Kildare at St Conleth’s Park today.
Kildare were leading by three points in the last seconds of normal time when substitute Arthur McConville palmed to the net, after Paul Devlin’s free from 45m had come back off the crossbar.
From the kickout, Devlin launched a spectacular point and there was still time for Donal O’Hare to breach the Kildare defence once more to secure the two points.
It was devastating for the home side and sparked reminders of an almost identical collapse last year, when they lost to Tyrone in an early Division 1 one tie at this venue, having led by five points with two minutes left.
The key moment in the game arrived in the 50th minute. Down goalkeeper, Michael Cunningham hauled down Gary White and Anthony Nolan had no option but to award a penalty. What’s more, Cunningham was black carded.
Stephen Kane came on and he proved the hero, diving to his left to save Padraig Fogarty’s placed effort.
Kildare led by a point at that juncture and a goal would have put them in a strong position.
Niall Kelly scored a first-half goal as Kildare led by 1-7 to 0-9 at half time but former AFL man Caolán Mooney came on at half time for Down and scored a superb solo goal five minutes later. However, victory looked like being Kildare’s until the dramatic conclusion.
In Kiltoom, a brilliant point from a 45 by Martin Reilly earned Cavan a 1-11 to 0-14 draw against Roscommon in an opening-round battle of the promoted teams.
Donie Smith looked to have edged it for the hosts with a point at the beginning of injury time but Reilly’s nerve and technique held up splendidly to grab a share of the spoils for Terry Hyland’s crew.
Tremendous work by Senan Kilbride set up an easy 12th minute goal for Cathal Cregg and with the Murtagh brothers, Diarmuid and Ciarán, in flying form – they ended with nine points between them, Roscommon always seemed the likeliest winners.
They could never shake off Cavan though. Barry Reilly was introduced to the attack and he contributed two points, while Gearóid McKiernan accumulated four in a wonderful midfield performance.
In the final Division 2 game, Westmeath continued their good start to the season with a 1-12 to 0-10 win over Laois at Cusack Park.
This was a game in which both managers (Tom Cribbin of Westmeath and Tomás Ó Flatharta of Laois) were facing their former charges.
It was Cribben who was celebrating, thanks to a goal in first-half injury time by James Dolan, and five pointed frees by Ray Connellan.