Galway do the splits in search of fresh talent

Galway split their squad at the weekend, with half of them playing Ballygunner in a challenge match in Claregalway and the remainder brushing Laois aside in their opening game in Division 1B yesterday at Pearse Stadium.

Galway do the splits in search of fresh talent

Galway 1-27 Laois 2-15

Galway split their squad at the weekend, with half of them playing Ballygunner in a challenge match in Claregalway and the remainder brushing Laois aside in their opening game in Division 1B yesterday at Pearse Stadium.

Micheal Donoghue and his management team have made it clear that they want to extend their squad and just four of the All-Ireland final side started yesterday.

But that was more than enough to take care of Eddie Brennan’s Laois and with all four of them outstanding — the Mannion brothers Padraic and Cathal, Joe Canning and Aidan Harte — Galway had a sufficient platform for success.

Padraic Mannion revelled in a sweeper role at centre-back but the biggest development might be the way his brother Cathal is thriving at midfield, from where he shot 0-4, three of them in the opening seven minutes.

Canning’s hunger is as sharp as ever, so too his accuracy from placed balls and with so many established players to come back, the key thing now is to unearth new talent.

The paucity of the Laois challenge has to be taken into account but Jack Grealish, Kevin Hussey, Sean Loftus, Sean Bleahene and Tom Monaghan caught the eye in a one-sided game.

Galway boss Micheal Donoghue was pleased with the way his experimental side eased their way to victory.

“I thought we started well, built up the lead,” said Donoghue. “I thought some of our play was really good. We made a few changes in the second half and dropped off a tad but for this time of the year it’s about getting experience into lads.”

But Donoghue was far from happy with conceding 2-15 at home to Laois.

“It’s a big total to concede and the lads know that. The big message is when you get the opportunity you have to take it,” he added.

Galway used the wind in the opening half to build up a 1-15 to 0-7.

Galway’s goal came from Davey Glennon after a superb move down the field and his strike put them 1-12 to 0-4 after 25 minutes.

Laois never gave up and John Lennon fired home a couple of goals in the second-half but they never threatened a serious comeback.

The free-taking of PJ Scully and Mark Kavanagh helped them build up a decent score but they struggled to get sufficient points from play.

There wasn’t much joy for Brennan in his first league match in charge of Laois but the former Kilkenny star admired their battling qualities.

But he was the first to admit this was against a second-string Galway side in front of a crowd of 8,211 at the Salthill venue.

“We were under no illusions what kind of a task we were facing even though that is probably not anywhere near Galway’s championship team,” said Brennan. “But you stick at it and you don’t throw in the towel. And I was proud that they fought until the bitter end.”

Scorers for Galway: J Canning 0-10 (0-8f, 0-1 65), D Glennon 1-2, C Mannion 0-4, T Monaghan 0-2, S Loftus 0-2, S Bleahene 0-2, A Harte 0-1, P Mannion 0-1, J Coyne 0-1, T Haran 0-1 (0-1f), B Concannon 0-1.

Scorers for Laois: J Lennon 2-0, PJ Scully 0-6 (0-6f), M Kavanagh 0-4 (0-4f), J Kelly 0-2, P Purcell 0-1, A Dunphy 0-1, C Dwyer 0-1.

GALWAY: F Flannery; J Grealish, R Burke, S Linnane; K Hussey, P Mannion, A Harte; C Mannion, S Loftus; S Bleahene, J Canning, J Coyne; T Monaghan, B Concannon, D Glennon.

Subs: R O’Meara for Coyne (57), J Fitzpatrick for Harte (58), S Kilduff for Canning (60), S Bannon for Grealish (64), T Haran for Monaghan (68).

LAOIS: E Rowland; D Hartnett, M Whelan, J Phelan; J Kelly, R Mullaney, P Delaney; C Phelan, PJ Scully; E Lyons, M Kavanagh, P Purcell; J Lennon, A Dunphy, S Maher.

Subs: S Downey for Delaney (42), N Foyle for Maher (51), C Dwyer for Scully (58), A Bergin for Lyons (61), J Cranny for C Phelan (68).

Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).

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