FBD Connacht League - Galway 2-9 Sligo 0-12: Winter sunshine and a decent surface given the floods which have devastated so much of the country provided an ideal backdrop as these two sides garnered plenty from this first outing of the year in Tuam Stadium.
Galway, who never trailed, held on for a deserved victory despite not scoring for the closing 13 minutes, but Sligo will be greatly encouraged by the way they kept plugging away on a day when both managers had depleted resources.
Sligo manager Niall Carew and his Galway counterpart Kevin Walsh tried out plenty of new players and both were rightly pleased with the day’s work.
“It was an ideal run out for both teams. The thing for us was just to blood a few young lads, it was good for them.
“It is good for us too, because we only have small numbers to pick from. I was glad they performed,” said Carew.
His men looked dead and buried when they trailed by double scores, 1-7 to 0-5, at the interval, but they never gave up and with Niall Murphy an inspiration in midfield, they made the Tribesmen battle to the end.
Murphy, who hit all but a point of his impressive 0-6 from midfield, ensured they stayed in the contest after Galway threatened to pull away when sub Enda Tierney goaled from close range after 47 minutes after another sub Jason Lyons was denied by Sligo goalkeeper Aidan Devaney.
Devaney had no chance either for the opening goal after ten minutes when a passing movement involving Eamon Brannigan, Eddie Hoare and Danny Cummins ended with Damien Comer scoring from close range.
Tierney’s goal made it 2-9 to 0-8 but Murphy hit three in a row and experienced full-back Johnny Martyn crowned his return to action with a late point, but Galway held out for the win.
“Outside of the victory it was important to look at a few new faces and see how they coped, and a few of them did cope very, very well,” said Galway manager Walsh.
“It is important for the player development more than anything else, and it is nice to get the win on the day. So that sets us up for Leitrim in the next round.”
Scorers for Galway:
D Comer 1-1; E Tierney 1-0; S Maughan 0-2 (0-1f), A Varley 0-2; D Cummins, E Brannigan, P Mannion, J Heaney 0-1 each.
Scorers for Sligo:
N Murphy 0-6 (0-1f); J Rodgers 0-1 (0-1f); N Gaughan, P Hughes, K Sweeney, E McHugh, J Martyn 0-1 each.
T Dolan; D Wynne, C Silke, E Kerin; J Heaney, A Coyne, R Greene; P Conroy, E Hoare; D Comer, S Maughan, E Brannigan; P Mannion, A Varley, D Cummins.
F O Curraoin for Conroy (30), E Tierney for Comer (39), J Lyons for Maughan (46), N Walsh for Mannion (52), M Reddington for Brannigan (57).
A Devaney; L Henry, J Martyn, M Gordon; G O Kelly-Lynch, D Maye, L Bree; N Murphy, E McHugh; N Ewing, J Hynes, N Gaughan; K Sweeney, P Hughes, B Egan.
P McNamara for Gaughan (28, black card), J Rodgers for Egan (35), K Cawley for Sweeney (56), D Cummins for Hynes (60), J Gillen for O Kelly-Lynch (60).
Paul Daly (Roscommon).
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