Galway 0-10 Laois 2-10
We will never know what the outcome might have been had it gone ahead as planned at the start of the month. But a lot has happened to these two counties since the original fixture fell victim to heavy snow.
The form-lines shown since – Laois on the way up and Galway sliding down – continued at Tuam Stadium yesterday as Tomas Ó Flatharta guided his men to victory.
Galway have now lost three games in a row, having won both opening matches, while Laois have bounced back from early defeats to Westmeath and Cavan to become promotion contenders, with five points from the three games they played since this original fixture fell victim.
Galway are a side shorn of confidence and manager Kevin Walsh knows where that originated, when they led a six-point lead slip away to Down.
“The Down performance seemed to start a spiral trend downwards. There is a bit of feeling that game was left behind. That shouldn’t happen a confident team but obviously there was a lot of play that was too safe, too much taken out of the ball. There were gaps I feel were there and they should have been taken on, said the former double All-Ireland winner.
It wasn’t as if Laois threw caution to the wind, but they took their chances and pounced a couple of times on sloppy defending. That Galway failed to score in the second-half against the breeze told more about the shortcomings of the home side.
Galway did not have the Corofin players but starting Shane Walsh and Peadar Ó Griofa was key to building a good early lead. But a Donie Kingston goal kept Laois in touch. He dispossessed goalkeeper Brian O’Donoghue to tap home after 19 minutes.
Galway still led 0-10 to 1-1 at the break, although the lead would have been trimmed further had goalkeeper O’Donoghue not made amends for his earlier error to produce a stunning save to deny Kingston who kept chipping away at the lead with pointed frees and Laois pushed on when Galway U-21 captain Damien Comer picked up a second yellow card.
Their skipper Ross Munnelly soon levelled and then loose Galway defending saw sub Tom Shiel lob home the winner two minutes from the end, before victory was sealed with another couple of Kingston frees and one from sub Stephen Attride.
Ó Flatharta was pleased with his side’s recovery. “The thing we are looking for all along is progress and I think we made progress today.”
Scorers for Galway: P Ó Gríofa 0-4 (0-3f), S Walsh 0-3 (0-1f), P Conroy 0-1f, G O’Donnell and A Varley 0-1 each.
Scorers for Laois: D Kingston 1-5 (0-5f), T Shiel 1-0, R Munnelly 0-3 (0-2f), D Strong and S Attride 0-1 each.
GALWAY: B O’Donoghue; J Duane, F Hanley, C Sweeney; P Varley, G Bradshaw, G O’Donnell; F O Curraoin, P Conroy; P O Griofa, D Comer, S Denvir; A Varley, P Sweeney, S Walsh.
Subs for Galway: T Fahy for P Varley (51), J Heaney for A Varley (57), E Hoare for P Sweeney (67).
LAOIS: G Brody; C Begley, M Timmons, D O’Connor; D Strong, P Begley, R Kehoe; B Quigley, J O’Loughlin; N Donoher, D Kingston, E O’Carroll; R Munnelly, C Boyle, P Kingston.
Subs for Laois: B Sheehan for O’Carroll (50), S Attride for Boyle (55, BC), T Shiel for P Kingston (57), J Finn for Munnelly (70).
Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo).
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