Galway 1-9 Tyrone 1-11: Damien Comer’s goal three minutes from time almost inspired Galway to an unlikely comeback win at Pearse Stadium, but ultimately poor finishing cost the Tribesmen dearly.
Tiernan McCann hit the net in the first half as Mickey Harte’s team worked their way into an eight-point lead by the 62nd minute, but Comer’s goal and points from Peter Cooke, Eamon Brannigan and Shane Walsh left Tyrone worrying at the death.
Galway had to play the last 27 minutes with one man less after the sending-off of influential midfielder Paul Conroy.
They went though a spell when they only kicked one point in 32 minutes — and 14 wides overall — as Tyrone kicked on to the win.
But manager Kevin Walsh refused to be too downbeat. The double All-Ireland winner was full of praise for his young squad, and said he was heartened by their spirited last five minutes.
“In sport, 95% of the time you get what you deserve, maybe 5% things out of your control can hit you. There were two sectors there where we allowed them ahead a little bit,” said Walsh.
“Maybe in the end we had a lot of wides that were scorable, a few frees that were scorable. I wouldn’t be stretching it to say we were disappointed that we didn’t get a point out of it.
“There are things we have to improve on, but they are a new group of lads together and they worked really hard for the last 25 minutes in particular.”
Tyrone had Colm Cavanagh black-carded late on, but manager Mickey Harte was delighted to see his young side hold on for the win ahead of the three-week break.
“It’s all about getting the points. Yes you would love good performances in doing that. But I think we saw parts of the game that we would be very pleased with,” said Harte, now in his 14th season as Tyrone manager.
“The performances were good, the support play was good, the control play was good. At other times of the game, our game management was far from good. There are lots of things to work on.
Galway got off to a decent start to lead by 0-2 to 0-1 after 11 minutes, but their next score took 21 minutes to arrive, in which time Tyrone has kicked 1-6 without response and Galway had Tom Flynn black-carded for a trip on Niall Sludden.
But after Conroy was sent off in the 43rd minute when he saw yellow and black cards in a six-minute spell, Galway deflated again.
The Red Hand kicked five of the next six points to take total control, before Comer’s goal almost sparked an unlikely comeback.
Scorers for Tyrone:
T McCann 1-0, R O’Neill (1f), D McCurry (1f), L Brennan (1f), M Bradley 0-2, S Cavanagh, R Brennan, C McAliskey 0-1.
Scorers for Galway:
E Brannigan, E Hoare 0-3 (3f), D Comer 1-0, P Cooke (1’45), S Walsh (1f), L Silke 0-1.
N Morgan; A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron; R Brennan, J McMahon, T McCann; C Cavanagh, P McNulty; N Sludden, M Donnelly, C Meyler; D McCurry, C McAliskey, R O’Neill.
HP McGeary for McCarron (h-t), S Cavanagh for Meyler (42), M Bradley for McAliskey (42), L Brennan for McCurry (49), R Donnelly for McNulty (58), C McShane for C Cavanagh (66 BC).
T Dolan; E Kerin, D Kyne, D Wynne; L Silke, G O’Donnell, J Heaney; P Conroy, F O Curraoin; T Flynn, E Brannigan, E Tierney; D Comer, A Varley, E Hoare.
P Cooke for Flynn (23 BC), S Walsh for Tierney (48), S Denvir for Hoare (62), R Greene for Kerin (68), D Cunnane for Kyne (68).
Derek O’Mahony (Tipperary).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved