Galway 1-9 Tyrone 0-8
Galway scored their 13th ever league win over Tyrone when they led throughout a tough contest at Tuam Stadium to get their return to the top flight off to the best possible start,.
The Tribesmen, back in Division One for the first time since 2011, never trailed and held off a Tyrone rally in the second-half to secure a deserved success.
Galway led by 1-3 to 0-3 at the interval despite playing against the breeze in an action-packed opening half.
Damien Comer, their new captain, gave Galway a dream start when he soloed through to drill a low ball to the net after just 16 seconds.
And he followed it up with an excellent point from play to give the Tribesmen the perfect start.
Tyrone struggled to get into the game and found themselves 1-2 to 0-0 adrift after seven minutes when Shane Walsh pointed a free.
Tiernan McCann finally got Tyrone off the mark with a point after 15 minutes, but by the interval they shot eight wides to Galway’s two.
Conor McAliskey reduced the margin after 24 minutes but then Tyrone lost their other corner-forward Darren McCurry after an off-the-ball incident with Galway defender Eoghan Kerin.
Cathal McShane cut the gap to a goal at the break when he scored an excellent point from the left on the half hour.
McAliskey gave Tyrone a good start to the second-half when he pointed three minutes after the restart.
But Galway refused to panic and took control again with Eamon Branigan shooting two points to lead by double scores, 1-5 to 0-4, after 46 minutes.
Patrick Sweeney and Walsh extended Galway’s lead with good points before Matthew Donnelly gave Tyrone hope when he pointed after 55 minutes to cut the gap to 1-7 to 0-5.
A free from Peter Harte left four between them nine minutes from time as Tyrone rallied to save the day.
And a tight finish was on the cards when Harte cut the gap to a goal with a pointed free after he himself was fouled going through two minutes later.
A pointed free from Ronan O’Neill had Galway fans worried five minutes from time, but Galway finished strongly with points from Comer and Walsh sealing a deserved win as Mickey Harte’s 16th league campaign in charge of Tyrone started on a losing note.
: D Comer 1-2, S Walsh 0-4 (3f), E Brannigan 0-2, P Sweeney 0-1
: C McAliskey 0-2 (f), P Harte 0-2f, T McCann 0-1, C McShane 0-1, M Donnelly 0-1, R O’Neill 0-1 (0-1f)
: R Lavelle; D Kyne, S A O Ceallaigh, E Kerin; S Kelly (J Duane 66), G Bradshaw, C Sweeney; P Conroy, P Cooke; J Heaney, A Varley (P Cunningham 56), E Brannigan (G O’Donnell 73); S Walsh (S Armstrong 76), D Comer, P Sweeney (T Flynn 60).
Subs: B McHugh, R O Beolain, S Armstrong, P Cunningham, C D’Arcy, J Duane, C Duggan, E Finnerty, T Flynn, G O’Donnell, D Wynne.
: N Morgan; M McKernan, R McNamee (M Bradley 20), H P McGeary; T McCann, P Hampsey, K McGeary (R McNabb 51); P McNulty (D McClure 46), M Donnelly; C McCann (R Donnelly 57), N Sludden (L Brennan 68), P Harte; C McAliskey (R O’Neill 46), C McShane, D McCurry.
Subs: M O’Neill, M Bradley, L Brennan, R Brennan, B Burns, F Burns, R Donnelly, D McClure, A McCrory, R McNabb, R O’Neill.
Referee: Ciaran Brannigan (Down).