Galway hit 5-34 to open Allianz Hurling League with win over Westmeath

Everyone from no. 5 forward in the starting line-up hit the target for Galway
Galway hit 5-34 to open Allianz Hurling League with win over Westmeath

Galway's Aidan Harte avoids the attempted block of Niall O'Brien of Westmeath at TEG Cusack Park in Mullingar. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Westmeath 1-16 Galway 5-34  

Galway cruised to a 30-point win to get their Allianz League campaign off to an impressive start despite resting several key players.

Westmeath are going to struggle at this level, although manager Shane O’Brien knows it will be good preparation for their Joe McDonagh Cup campaign.

But with everyone from no. 5 forward in the starting line-up hitting the target for Galway, it was all one-way traffic in good conditions in Mullingar.

Shane O’Neill’s men had the win wrapped up by the interval when they led by 3-18 to 0-10 after playing with the breeze.

All six forwards scored from play by the 15th minute when Conor Cooney landed a good effort from the right.

That put the Tribesmen 1-7 to 0-4 in front after captain Conor Whelan pounced for the opening goal when a long delivery from Cathal Mannion slipped in behind Darragh Egerton and Conor Shaw for the Kinvara clubman to blast to the net.

Niall O’Brien did his utmost to keep Westmeath in touch with deadly accuracy from frees, while Ciaran Doyle hit two good points, including the score of the game when he doubled first-time from 40 metres on the right after a pass from Davy Glennon, who was making his Westmeath debut against his native county with whom he won an All-Ireland medal in 2017.

Brian Concannon set Niall Burke up for Galway’s second goal after 18 minutes as they picked off scores from all angles, with Evan Niland hitting nine points in the opening half, seven of them from frees and many of them from well out the field.

The third goal came a couple of minutes before the break when Niland and Cathal Mannion combined and Ja Mannion supplied a fine finish to the net.

They got their fourth shortly after the restart when a superb pinpoint pass from Cathal Mannion put Brian Concannon through and he finished into the bottom right corner.

They continued to add points before Westmeath pulled back a goal when substitute Niall Mitchell hooked Galway goalkeeper Eanna Murphy and finished to the net.

That left Westmeath trailing by 4-23 to 1-11 after 47 minutes and Galway added a fifth goal just after the second water break when Conor Cooney soloed through and blasted to the net.

Scorers for Galway: E Niland 0-13 (10f), C Cooney 1-5 (0-1 pen), N Burke 1-4, J Mannion 1-3, B Concannon 1-1, C Whelan 1-0, C Mannion 0-2, F Burke 0-2 (1’sl), S Cooney 0-2, A Harte 0-1, J Coen 0-1.

Scorers for Westmeath: N O’Brien 0-11 (10f), N Mitchell 1-0, C Doyle 0-2, S Williams 0-1, J Boyle 0-1, D Glennon 0-1.

Galway: E Murphy; J Fitzpatrick, G McInerney, S Loftus; A Harte, S Cooney, F Burke; J Coen, C Mannion; C Cooney, E Niland, B Concannon; C Whelan (c), N Burke, J Mannion.

Subs: D Morrissey for Fitzpatrick (21), TJ Brennan for Harte (44), J Cooney for Concannon (44), D Kilcommins for Whelan (54), K Cooney for C Mannion (54), J Flynn for Niland (57), D Cronin for S Loftus (57).

Westmeath: E Skelly; D Egerton, T Doyle, C Shaw; A Cox, A Craig, D McNicholas (c); R Greville, D Glennon; J Galvin, C Doyle, J Boyle; N O’Brien, D Clinton, S Williams.

Subs: N Mitchell for Galvin (20), T Gallagher for Cox (h-t), J Coll for Clinton (42), K Regan for McNicholas (50), P Scally for Gallagher (59-61, blood), S Calvin for Greville (63).

Referee: Sean Stack (Dublin).

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