John Fallon reports from Pearse Stadium
PADRAIC JOYCE’S GALWAY got their Division 2 campaign off to the best possible start against a Meath team who did not get their first score until the 45th minute of a one-sided contest at Pearse Stadium.
There was no way back for Andy McEntee’s men when they had the elements behind them after the restart and they will look to respond after this demoralising defeat next weekend when they host Roscommon.
Meath won the toss and opted to play against the strong wind and rain and found themselves 1-9 to 0-0 adrift at the interval, with just four wides to show for their efforts.
Galway used the wind well and showed good patience in building moves and with frees inevitable in the difficult conditions, Shane Walsh made them pay, landing five from placed balls and one from play in an opening half of dominance.
They opened up a 0-3 to 0-0 lead after 12 minutes when the impressive Cillian McDaid went forward to score after a couple of early scores from Walsh.
Two more frees from Walsh pushed Galway clear and then when Meath full-back Ronan Ryan, a late replacement for the injured Conor McGill, dropped a sideline from Walsh, Tomo Culhane pounced to punch the ball to the net and leave them 1-5 to 0-0 in front after 28 minutes.
The Tribesmen pushed on from there and added two more frees from Walsh, while debutant Owen Gallagher, the former Antrim player, crowned a good display with a point.
Galway finished the half strongly and would have been even further ahead but Meath goalkeeper Harry Hogan managed to tip a shot from Rob Finnerty over the bar for them to lead by 1-9 to 0-0 at the break.
Meath needed a good start to the second-half but Galway held possession for almost three minutes after the restart before Walsh kicked his second point from play and Paul Kelly followed with another one directly afterwards to lead by 14 points, with Meath hitting four wides in the opening eight minutes of the second-half.
Meath finally got off the mark after 45 minutes when Joey Wallace kicked a point from 40 metres but it took them another 12 minutes to add to it when substitute Jordan Morris pointed to make it 1-11 to 0-2 after 57 minutes.
Morris also added a free but Galway continued to extend their lead through Finnerty and Walsh as they ran out comfortable winners.
Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-8 (0-6f), Tomo Culhane 1-0, Rob Finnerty 0-2, Cillian McDaid 0-1, Owen Gallagher 0-1, Paul Kelly 0-1, Kieran Molloy 0-1.
Scorers for Meath: Jordan Morris 0-2 (0-1f), Joey Wallace 0-1, Eoin Harkin 0-1, Mathew Costello 0-1, Shane Walsh 0-1.
1 Conor Flaherty (Claregalway)
2 Kieran Molloy (Corofin), 3 Seán Kelly (Moycullen), 4 Liam Silke (Corofin)
5 Dylan McHugh (Corofin), 6 John Daly (Mountbellew/Moylough), 7 Cillian McDaid (Monivea/Abbey)
8 Paul Kelly (Moycullen), 12 Paul Conroy (St James’)
9 Matthew Tierney (Oughterard), 10 Owen Gallagher (Moycullen), 12 Finnian Ó Laoí
15 Tomo Culhane (Salthill/Knocknacarra), 11 Rob Finnerty (Salthill/Knocknacarra), 13 Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin/Clonberne).
19 Cathal Sweeney (Salthill/Knocknacarra) for Culhane (44)
22 Paddy Kelly (Mountbellew/Moylough) for Ó Laoí (55)
18 Tony Gill (Corofin) for McDaid (63)
23 Cormac McWalter (Tuam Stars) for Walsh (66)
1 Harry Hogan (Longwood)
4 Eoin Harkin (Dunsany), 18 Ronan Ryan (Summerhill), 2 Robin Clarke (Bellewstown)
5 Cathal Hickey (Seneschalstown), 6 Shane McEntee (St Peter’s, Dunboyne), 7 Donal Keogan (Rathkenny)
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8 Padraic Harnan (Moynalvey), 9 Ethan Devine (Na Fianna)
12 Mathew Costello (Dunshaughlin), 11 Bryan McMahon (Ratoath), 10 Cillian O’Sullivan (Moynalvey)
13 James Conlon (St Colmcille’s), 14 Shane Walsh (Na Fianna), 15 Joey Wallace (Ratoath).
25 Jordan Morris (Nobber) for McMahon (30)
24 Thomas O’Reilly (Wolfe Tones) for Conlon (46)
23 Eamon Wallace (Ratoath) for O’Sullivan (48)
22 Sarán Ó Fionnagáin (Wolfe Tones) for Wallace (53)
17 Gavin McGowan (Ratoath) for Hickey (64)
Referee: Patrick Maguire (Longford).
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