Galway 1-14 Kerry 0-14
By Eoghan Cormican, Austin Stack Park
The Galway footballers have kept up their unbeaten start to the league, a first win on Kerry soil since 2000 handing Kevin Walsh's charges their fourth successive Division 1A victory.
The crucial score of this contest arrived on 40 minutes, Eamonn Brannigan showing a clean pair of heels to the Kerry defence to pounce for a goal. It shoved the visitors 1-10 to 0-7 in front and gave them sufficient breathing space as Kerry would subsequently reel off four unanswered points to narrow the gap to 1-10 to 0-11.
Stephen O’Brien kicked the fourth point of that Kerry spell of dominance, but it would prove their last score for 18 minutes.
During this barren Kerry spell, their opponents made hay; Barry McHugh (three frees) and Brannigan putting Galway out of sight. Or so we thought.
Seven minutes of second-half stoppages were played, Kerry kicked three points on the bounce and then almost got in for an equalising goal in the 78th minute. Ruairi Lavelle stopped David Clifford’s shot and then spread himself excellently to block Stephen O’Brien’s follow-up.
Galway enjoyed the benefits of a strong breeze in the opening period and took full advantage early in the first-half, kicking an array of long-range points. Having conceded seven points to Monaghan in the first 15 minutes of last weekend’s game, Kerry were similarly cut open here as the Tribesmen had six white flags risen by the 16th minute. Barry McHugh (one free and ‘45), Patrick Sweeney (0-2), Eamon Brannigan (0-2) were all on the mark as the visitors raced into a 0-6 to 0-2 lead.
Successive fouls on Barry John Keane allowed respective free-takers Sean O’Shea and David Clifford cut back the deficit, but attempts to make further inroads on the Galway lead was stemmed by a string of poor wides.
Galway saw out the half with three dead-ball efforts, McHugh (one free and ‘45) and Shane Walsh (free) on target. The latter could have bagged the opening goal of the contest when rounding Ronan Shanahan but his low drive was repelled Brian Kelly.
They held on, thereafter. Just about.
B McHugh (0-8, 0-5 frees, 0-2 ‘45s); E Brannigan (1-3); P Sweeney (0-2); S Walsh (0-1 free).
D Clifford (0-6, 0-3 frees); S O’Shea (0-3, 0-2 frees); P Murphy, P Crowley, S O’Brien, T O’Sullivan, C Casey (0-1 each).
B Kelly; P Murphy, J Foley, S Enright; B Ó Beaglaoich, R Shanahan, P Crowley; J Barry, Barry O’Sullivan; M Burns, S O’Shea, S O’Brien; D Clifford, P Geaney, BJ Keane.
Subs: M Flaherty for Shanahan (40 mins); T O’Sullivan for Ó Beaglaoich (42); É Ó Conchúir for Keane (48); D Casey for Burns (60); K Spillane for Geaney (66); B Ó Seanacháin for B O’Sullivan (70)
Galway: R Lavelle; E Kerin, SA Ó Ceallaigh; D Kyne; C Sweeney, G Bradshaw, S Kelly; P Conroy, P Cooke; J Heaney, S Walsh, E Brannigan; B McHugh, D Comer, P Sweeney.
Subs: G O’Donnell for C Sweeney (bc, 8 mins); S Armstrong for P Sweeney (49); D Wynne for Ó Ceallaigh (bc, 57); J Duane for Heaney (bc, 57); C Duggan for Cooke (64); T Flynn for Brannigan (70).
F Kelly (Longford).