Leitrim 0-8 Galway 1-13
Galway prevailed comfortably over Leitrim today in what was an utterly forgettable encounter that was riddled with frees and errors.
Some 5,458 supporters filed into Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon this afternoon but most of them probably wish they hadn't bothered.
Leitrim started brightly with two points in the opening five minutes, while Galway also looked sharp in the early stages.
Michéal Lundy was on target to draw the sides level just two minutes later, showing all the power and incisiveness that helped Corofin to an All-Ireland club title.
Leitrim also threatened to find the back of the Galway net on a couple of occasions, both times through the physical presence of inside forward Donal Wrynn.
His first effort was flicked onto the post and then gathered by Brian O’Donoghue at the second attempt, while his second crashed into the upright after Ronan Kennedy tried to find him at the far post with a handpass.
However after a bright start, the match didn’t go downhill so much as it crash-landed.
Just three points were added in the next 23 minutes, with all three of the additional scores coming from placed balls.
Paul Conroy broke the run of dead balls with a fine strike from out on the right wing, while a rare moment of brilliance followed immediately afterwards when Peadar Ó’Gríofa’s long delivery was fielded by Damien Comer on the edge of the square, and then blasted to the net by the under-21 star with a typically powerful right footed strike.
Lateral handpassing and misplaced strikes with the foot were the main fare during the opening half, while Leitrim’s sloppy tackling technique offered Galway several handy chances from free kicks.
Leitrim replied admirably to Comer’s strike, picking off the next three scores, though on was a high right-footed attempt from Seán McWeeney that was narrowly adjudged to have found the target but was hotly disputed by the Galway defence.
At 1-7 to 0-6 adrift, the home side needed a goal to spur them on to greater heights and once again they came agonisingly close within just fifteen seconds of the restart, with Donal Wrynn again the man on the end of their move.
His fine catch and turn left him through on goals, but he pulled his strike a couple of feet wide of the target.
That was to be the first of seven second half wides for Leitrim, though Galway struggled to take advantage of their hosts’ profligacy.
In the first 28 minutes of the second half Leitrim were held scoreless, while Galway added just three points, including one from a long range free and another from defender Gary O’Donnell.
As the game meandered to a conclusion the sides exchanged a handful of scores, but by now most of the audience were leaving early, looking to beat the oncoming shower of rain.
As they trudged towards the exits, Galway supporters may have been wondering how they could possibly hope to beat Mayo on June 14 in that form, while the Leitrim fans must surely have pondered if they could beat anyone at all after such a toothless, insipid display.
Scorers for Leitrim: K Conlan 0-3 (0-2 45s, 0-1f), S McWeeney 0-2, R Kennedy, F Clancy & P McGowan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Galway: P Conroy 0-6 (0-5f), D Comer 1-1, D Cummins 0-2, M Lundy, P Óg Gríofa (f), G O’Donnell & P Sweeney 0-1 each.
Leitrim: C McCrann; M Murphy, R Gallagher, N Woods; S McWeeney (0-2), G Reynolds, T Mulvey; D Sweeney, S Moran; D Beck, F Clancy (0-1), K Conlan (0-3, 0-2 45s, 0-1f); R Kennedy (0-1), J McGrail, D Wrynn.
Subs: C Gilheaney for McGrail (40), J Connolly for Mulvey (51), P McGowan (0-1) for Moran (54), B Prior for Murphy (55), S Quinn for Wrynn (64), A McLoughlin for Beck (67)
Galway: B O’Donoghue; J Duane, F Hanley, C Sweeney; L Silke, G O’Donnell (0-1), S Denvir; F Ó’Curraoín, P Conroy (0-6, 0-5f); G Sice, S Walsh, M Lundy (0-1); P Óg Ó’Gríofa (0-1f), D Cummins (0-2), D Comer (1-1).
Subs: P Sweeney (0-1) for Walsh (52), T Flynn for Ó’Curraoín (62), A Varley for Cummins (65), M Martin for Ó’Gríofa (67), D Kyne for Sweeney (70+2), G Bradshaw for Denvir (70+2)
Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).