Damien Comer steps into breach

NEW YORK 0-8 GALWAY 2-18: Damien Comer inspired Galway as they advanced to face Leitrim in the quarter-final of the Connacht SFC after a leisurely victory over New York at Gaelic Park in the Bronx last night.

Man of the match Comer wasn’t even due to start but was parachuted into the starting 15 after a stomach bug hit the Galway panel and he duly responded with a 1-4 tally.

It may have been the least comprehensive of recent defeats suffered by the Exiles on their home turf but it was never in doubt after Galway rode the initial New York dominance.

Former Donegal star Ross Wherity failed to beat the hamstring injury that had bothered him since the defeat to Cavan and was replaced in the starting line-up by Jason Kelly.

But the worries were greater for the Tribesmen who lost goalkeeper Brian Donoghue as well as key forwards Michael Lundy and Patrick Sweeney to the mysterious bug.

PJ Banville led the way for New York in the opening stages, converting two early frees as the Galway men started slower. Comer — who replaced Sweeney — and centre forward Shane Walsh brought Galway back level by the 11th minute before a 20th minute point from Banville had the hosts in front again.

Comer was finally hitting his stride and a few scores by him finally had the visitors in the lead and in control as the half hour mark ticked by.

An injury to one of New York’s key men, Brian Connor, proved a further blow and Galway could have extended their lead significantly had it not been for a great point blank save by New York keeper Gavin Joyce.

Galway began the second half with a five-point advantage — 0-9 to 0-4 — but that man Banville was presented with another free close in that he easily pointed from the left.

However, that only served to get a rise out of the Connacht men who quickly countered, allowing Shane Walsh to cut through the middle and rifle a low shot to the corner past Joyce.

That was quickly followed by a fisted point from Danny Cummins in the 40th minute, a score which was followed by a prolonged period of wayward shooting.

Banville finally got his side back to scoring ways, pointing from play from the left.

That was quickly cancelled out by Galway, however, Peadar Óg O Griofa sending over a free from the right that made the score 1-11 to 0-6 in Galway’s favour.

Points from captain and midfielder Paul Conroy and half back Sean Denvir opened out the lead to 10 points but it could have been worse for New York after Keith Quinn brilliantly cleared off the line from a handpass sent into the small rectangle. Denvir converted the 45’ however and O Griofa followed up with another score as the spirits of the home team flagged.

It was well over as a contest when Comer punched home the second goal of the day after a fine move down the right and the game petered out with Galway coasting their way to their 16-point victory.

GALWAY:

T Healy; J Duane, F Hanley, C Sweeney (P Naughton); L Silke (0-1), G O’Donnell, S Denvir (0-1) (P Varley); F Ó Curraoin (0-1), P Conroy (0-1, capt, T Flynn); G Sice (M Martin), S Walsh (1-4, 1f), E Hoare (M Lundy); P Ó Gríofa (0-4, 2f), D Comer (1-4, 2 45s, A Varley), D Cummins (0-1).

Other scorer - sub M Martin (0-1)

NEW YORK:

G Joyce; R McGinley; G McCartan, K Quinn, B Gibbons; K Scally (capt), C Maginn (K Moynagh); A Hope (G McCullagh), B Connor (D Nation (McGeeney)); J Kelly (E McPhilips), N McFeely, D Freeman; JJ Mathews (0-1), PJ Banville (0-7, 4 frees), G O’Driscoll.

Referee:

C Branagan (Down).


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