In terms of development for the championship, this was as big a step forward for Galway as it was backwards for Meath.
Games in the middle of a league campaign rarely have so much hanging on them, but this clash at Pearse Stadium yesterday clearly did.
That was particularly obvious during the closing minutes when both sides battled for a winner after a disputed goal from Joe Sheridan, soon to leave these shores in search of work, tied the game.
Neither side covered themselves in glory during that closing phase and while Paul Conroy seized the moment for Galway with a superb winner two minutes into stoppage time, the outcome could just as easily have gone the other way.
Galway hotly disputed Sheridan’s goal — claiming it was wide and he was in the square — when the big Seneschalstown man fist a long delivery from Cian Ward to the net.
Conroy’s winning point has huge significance for both sides with Galway, who made the drop from the top flight last year, moving from relegation contenders to possible promotion. But Meath, who managed just one point from play from their attackers, have seen their league campaign derailed by a second successive one point loss.
Manager Seamus McEnaney said their clash with Derry next weekend now took on a new importance.
“It certainly leaves us with our backs against the wall regards promotion.
The ramifications of the defeat are probably in direct opposition to the value of the win to Galway, who had lost their way after an opening day win over Derry.
“It’s a big, big win for us,” said Galway manager Alan Mulholland. “We showed great composure in that we worked the ball through, in the last couple of weeks what we have been doing going for silly scores in unreachable areas of the pitch and showed the composure that was missing from out game in the last two games.”
Scorers for Galway: N Joyce 0-7 (3fs), P Conroy 1-1, D Cummins, N Coleman, G Bradshaw, G Sice 0-1 each.
Scorers for Meath: S Bray 0-4fs, C Ward 0-3 (2 45s), J Sheridan 1-0, M Ward 0-2, S McAnarney, T Walsh 0-1 each.
GALWAY: A Faherty; K McGrath, F Hanley, K Kelly; G Bradshaw, D Blake, G O’Donnell; G Higgins, J Bergin; G Sice, D Burke, N Coleman; N Joyce, P Conroy, D Cummins.
Subs: T Flynn for Coleman (59), J Duane for Blake (64), P Joyce for Cummins (67), M Hehir for Burke (70).
MEATH: D Gallagher; M Burke, K Reilly, B Menton; C Lenihan, S McAnarney, D Toibin; T Walsh, M Ward; C O’Connor, G Reilly, S Kenny; P Gilsenan, C Ward, S Bray.
Subs: C McGuinness for Lenihan (27), J Sheridan for O’Connor (30), G O’Brien for Toibin (ht), J Queeney for Reilly (50), B Meade for Kenny (73).
Referee: G McCormack (Dublin).
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