All Ireland SFC Round 4A Qualifier
The Tribesmen bounced back from their sobering Connacht final defeat to Roscommon in emphatic style, with Donegal reaping the whirlwind in a 15-point hammering at Markievicz Park.
Victory sees Kevin Walsh’s side advance to a quarter-final meeting with Kerry 30 July, with the Tribesmen hoping that this impressive performance will prove the springboard to go surpass last year’s quarter-final exit at the hands of Tipperary, and to go on and lift the Sam Maguire for the first time since 2001.
Johnny Heaney kicked 2-2 with Liam Silke and Danny Cummins scoring Galway’s other goals, and they could even afford to have Declan Kyne sent off in the second half, as the defeat to the Rossies were avenged.
“It was the first 15 minutes really [vs Roscommon]. It’s been over-analysed as been really, really bad and maybe it was bad but every time we tried to come back – there was a goal against the run of play or a few woeful decisions that certainly took momentum off us but that happens as well,” said Walsh.
“At the end of the day, the first 15 minutes wasn’t good enough and I think in the Connacht final they had something like 15 shots in the first 20 minutes and only had three the next 20 so it wasn’t a case of the whole game but certainly wasn’t good enough the way we started off.”
“We were fairly clinical in the first half [vs Donegal] so the goal chances came and we took them.”
Galway grasped the initiative with a flying start – Sean Armstrong and Shane Walsh scoring early points. The Tribesmen no doubt chomping at the bit since 9 July to get back on the pitch and put memories of the Connacht final to bed.
Donegal did take the lead after three points in a row, but it was in the second quarter that Galway came alive to stamp their authority, racking up 3-5 before half-time to effectively take the game away from Donegal, who could only manage two points in response.
Heaney fisted home Galway’s opening goal in the 18th minute with Silke adding a 26th minute penalty after Donegal keeper Marc Anthony McGinley had tripped Tom Flynn. McGinley was one of three black cards for Donegal.
Galway got their third goal when Heaney fisted home his second, and Donegal were all but down and out as the Tribesmen took a 3-9 to 0-7 lead into the break.
Three quick-fire Galway points upon the restart from Heaney, Armstrong and Gary O’Donnell, plus the black carding of Donegal’s Michael Murphy and Martin McElhinney, killed off any lingering hopes for Donegal, as they were forced to see the game out with 13 players having already used their full quota of substitutes.
Donegal’s day went from bad to worse when Paddy McBrearty missed a penalty and Cummins added the icing for Galway by adding their fourth goal.
Scorers for Galway: Johnny Heaney 2-2, Sean Armstrong 0-6 (4fs), Liam Silke 1-0 (1-0 pen), Danny Cummins 1-0, Gary O’Donnell 0-2, Shane Walsh 0-1, Paul Conroy 0-1, Ian Burke 0-1, Damien Comer 0-1, Eamonn Brannigan 0-2, Michael Daly 0-1.
Scorers for Donegal: Paddy McBrearty 0-6 (2fs), Michael Murphy 0-4 (3fs, 145), Martin O’Reilly 0-2, Martin McElhinney 0-1, Michael Langan 0-1.
GALWAY: Bernard Power, Eoghan Kerin, Declan Kyne, Cathal Sweeney; Gary O’Donnell, Gareth Bradshaw, Liam Silke; Paul Conroy, Tom Flynn; Johnny Heaney, Micheal Daly, Sean Armstrong; Ian Burke, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh.
Subs: David Wynne for Sweeney (60, black card), Eamonn Branningan for Walsh (60), Danny Cummins for Daly (63), Michael Meehan for Comer (68), David Walsh for Bradshaw (72), Cillian McDaid for O’Donnell (72).
DONEGAL: Mark Anthony McGinley; Caolan Ward, Kieran Gillespie, Neil McGee; Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Ryan McHugh, Paddy McGrath; Jason McGee, Michael Murphy; Mark McHugh, Eoin McHugh, Frank McGlynn; Jamie Brennan, Hugh McFadden, Patrick McBrearty.
Subs: Peter Boyle for McGinley (25, black card), Michael Langan for Brennan (35), Martin McElhinney for McGlynn (36), Karl Lacey for Gillespie (half-time), Ciaran Thompson for McFadden (42), Martin O’Reilly for E McHugh (42).