Galway 2-8 Roscommon 0-13: January silverware is no guarantee of a golden summer but Galway fans will be suitably heartened by this FBD League success, the first trophy they have brought home since they last won it in 2009.
But, perhaps, of more importance to both sides was a good contest which sets them up nicely for the start of the league next weekend when Galway will hope to get out of Division Two and Roscommon will strive to stay in Division One after successive promotions.
Galway, blitzed by four Roscommon goals in the second-half of last year’s final, turned the tables on the holders this time with two big strikes in the opening five minutes. Both came from Damien Comer and both came when he rose about Neil Collins to fist home goals, the first after just 13 seconds when he connected with a delivery from Fiontain Ó Curraoin and the second when he latched onto a shot from Eamon Brannigan.
Roscommon did not panic and a couple of good efforts from the experienced Senan Kilbride settled them but they still trailed by 2-5 to 0-6 at the interval having played with the wind.
It took a good save from Galway goalkeeper Thomas Dolan, one of several players to be uncovered during this campaign, to deny Cathal McHugh before the break but Roscommon were more solid after the restart.
They held Galway scoreless for the opening 19 minutes of the second-half and drew level with a couple of points from Cian Connolly and Ciaran Murtgh. But they never managed to get in front and ended up shooting ten wides to Galway’s six. Wing-back Johnny Heaney pushed Galway into a lead they never lost when he went forward to score his second point six minutes from time, with Shane Walsh adding a free shortly afterwards.
And while Roscommon captain Niall Daly cut the gap with an excellent score, they were unable to save the day and Galway held out for their seventh title and first since 2009, leaving manager Kevin Walsh looking forward to the league opener away to Laois next weekend.
“Next week brings a different challenge. What we need to do is try and develop a panel, that when there are people missing in the middle of June and July that there are people that can step up.”
Scorers for Galway:
D Comer 2-1; A Varley 0-3; J Heaney 0-2; S Walsh 0-1 (0-1f) E Tierney 0-1.
C Murtagh 0-4 (0-4f), C Connolly 0-4 (0-3f); S Kilbride 0-2; K Kilcline 0-1, S Oates 0-1, N Daly 0-1.
T Dolan; D Wynne, D Kyne, E Kerin; L Silke, G O’Donnell, J Heaney; P Conroy, F O Curraoin; T Flynn, E Hoare, E Tierney; D Comer, A Varley, E Brannigan.
S Walsh for Hoare (48 mins), P Mannion for Brannigan (59).
G Claffey; R Stack, T Featherston, N Collins; B Murtagh, N Daly, R Daly; E Smith, C Shine; S Oates, K Kilcline, C Murtagh; C Connolly, S Kilbride, C McHugh.
S McDermott for Collins (h-t), N Kilroy for Kilcline (39 mins), U Harney for Oates (43), F Kelly for Shine (46), Fintan Creff for Murtagh (54).
Declan Corcoran (Mayo).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved