Galway 1-13 Leitrim 0-8: Job done for Kevin Walsh and Galway, but Mayo will hardly be terrified by what they saw at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada.
Galway did just enough to take the win in Carrick-on-Shannon, but with two championship wins under their belt, they will now have to show their full hand when Mayo arrive in Pearse Stadium on June 14.
Once that game comes around, Mayo will have gone ten weeks without a competitive clash, but the Galway manager thinks there is massive improvement needed from his team to clear the challenge of the provincial four-in-a-row winners.
“It’s very fair to say (that won’t be good enough against Mayo). A lot of bad handling out there, a lot of near misses but you will have that in these kind of fixtures. We just wanted to come here and get the job done and head into the Mayo game.
“We have to make more scoring chances, scoring when we have them, not to be putting them wide.
“As part of panels coming back here over the years it is a tough place to get out of and there is a big energy about that Leitrim side. They made things difficult for us, they certainly covered their backs.
“That is how they play but it is pleasing when you get out of here and it was comfortable enough towards the end,” Walsh said.
While he was happy to point out the holes in Galway’s performance, Walsh said he was not aware his side had conceded the enormous tally of 41 frees.
In the second-half alone they halted play 28 times as opposed to six times from Leitrim. In that context, escaping with just four bookings was a remarkable achievement.
“I didn’t know. That’s the first I’ve heard of it. I’d have to sit back and assess that,” Walsh said.
But there is plenty for his side to improve on ahead of the Mayo assignment. At times Galway were caught out as they drifted back into their defensive shape, Shane Walsh was guilty of losing concentration when Sean McWeeney crept in for Leitrim’s opening score, while 13 scores and four wides is hardy enough worry Mayo.
Walsh will be happy with his full-back line, where Cathal Sweeney and Johnny Duane solidly flanked Finian Hanley, but the ease at which Darren Sweeney spoiled Fiontán Ó Curraoin under kickouts will also have to be assessed.
Leitrim, on the other hand, will be annoyed by their own display. Had either of Donal Wyrnn’s early flicks found the net rather than the post they might have pushed Galway further, but instead of leading after the first quarter they had to be satisfied to be level at 0-3 each.
“I’m disappointed in that to be honest,” said Leitrim manager Shane Ward. “We worked very hard in training on creating goal chances and I thought we created equally as many chances in the first half as Galway.
“Had we converted one or two of those goal chances things might have been different. But you have to take your chances when they come, that’s what championship football is about.”
From there, Galway kicked on and after three quick frees and a sweet score from the right from Conroy, Comer rattled the net after he caught Peadar Óg Ó Griofa’s direct pass.
Even with three points in response before half-time, Leitrim never got within touching distance, and when Wrynn missed another good goal chance seconds after the restart and they then went the first 29 minutes after the resumption without a score there was no doubt about the result.
Scorers for Galway:
P Conroy 0-6 (5f), D Comer 1-1, D Cummins 0-2, M Lundy, P Óg Ó Gríofa (1f), P Sweeney, G O’Donnell 0-1 each.
Scorers for Leitrim:
K Conlan 0-3 (2’45, 1f), S McWeeney 0-2, F Clancy, R Kennedy, P McGowan 0-1 each
B O’Donoghue; J Duane, F Hanley, C Sweeney; L Silke, G O’Donnell, S Denvir; F Ó Curraoin, P Conroy; G Sice, S Walsh, M Lundy; P Óg Ó Gríofa, D Cummins, D Comer.
Subs for Galway:
P Sweeney for Walsh (51), T Flynn for Ó Curraoin (62), A Varley for Cummins (66), M Martin for Óg Ó Gríofa (68), D Kyne for C Sweeney (72), G Bradshaw for Denvir (72).
C McCrann; M Murphy, R Gallagher, N Woods; S McWeeney, G Reynolds, T Mulvey; D Sweeney, S Moran; D Beck, F Clancy, K Conlan; R Kennedy, J McGrail, D Wrynn.
Subs for Leitrim:
C Gilheaney for McGrail (41), J Connolly for Mulvey (50), P McGowan for Moran (53), B Prior for Murphy (55), S Quinn for Wrynn (66), A McLoughlin for Beck (68).
A Nolan (Wicklow).
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