Galway boys advance + the rest of the weekend’s action

Galway had, once again, to endure a bit of a battle before getting by plucky little Leitrim at Pearse Stadium yesterday. When they got that early goal and then almost got a second one soon after, it looked like they were going to give the Ridge County the kind of beating we endured from them last year at the same venue. However, in contrast to our own rather craven collapse there in May last year, Leitrim steadied themselves and an excellent Declan Maxwell goal put them right back into it. With Leitrim trailing by only a couple of points at the break, Liam Sammon’s brow would have been even more furrowed than normal as he pondered why the Tribesmen hadn’t secured a much bigger lead at that stage.

The one big advantage the likes of Galway have over Leitrim is strength in depth and so Sammon was able to bring on Barry Cullinane and Cormac Bane at half-time, both of whom helped to swing the match back in the Herrin Chokers’ direction. Bane got 1-2 in the second half and it was his goal that finally gave the home side some breathing space. Bane certainly knows how to raise those green flags – he got three goals in the two games they played against us last year – and his second half performance yesterday will make it difficult for Liam Sammon to omit him from his starting line-up on July 13th. Sammon also brought on Sean Armstrong in the second half, underlining once again what a strong bench the Tribesmen have.

We saw both sides to Galway yesterday – great going forward, rubbish at the back – a point underlined by the high scoreline at both ends. If we manage to get past Sligo on Sunday (oooh – I’m getting all tingly at the prospect of seeing some action again after all this time), the final could be a high-scoring one, given that we’re also handy enough in the forwards and equally all over the shop in the backs. But let’s not lose the run of ourselves – we have the Connacht champions to face first.

The attendance at Pearse Stadium yesterday was another disappointment: fewer than 8,000 made it through the gates at Salthill, with only around 10,000 having been there for the Roscommon game. What is it with the Galway crowd (or, more correctly, the lack of a crowd)? They’re getting like the Kerrymen, saving their shillings for the final. This year will be their fourth Connacht decider on the trot, by the way, and they’ve only won one of the last three (and that one was played in Pearse Stadium and all).

Elsewhere, the big talking point from yesterday was the classy behaviour displayed by Kerry’s new captain Paul Galvin who got sent off in the Kingdom’s Munster clash with Clare. Kerry were on their way to a routine victory (they were even a man up at this stage) but then Galvin’s big gob got him into trouble. He complained to a linesman about some rough treatment from his marker (yes, you have read that correctly) and the linesman then said something to the ref (probably something along the lines of “you want to give that lippy bollix Galvin another yellow”), following which the ref (Paddy Russell – who must surely be nearing pension age by now) did indeed give a yellow to Galvin and his marker. Galvin had already been booked earlier on so that was the end of the day’s action for the King of the Corner Boys.

In fairness to Galvin, it appears he was hard done by but a second yellow in a match already won really is no big deal. Unless you’re Paul Galvin, of course. Ripping the ref’s book off him, fucking before and behind him, scrapping with teammate Tomas O Se, who was only trying to talk some sense into his skipper, and then taking half the day to leave the field – now that IS a big deal. Russell turned the second yellow into a straight red (probably because the yellow was by then lodged in one of his orifices), which means that Galvin now misses the Munster final. The beaks are aso likely to throw the book (ha ha) at the combustible Kerry captain, which could rule him out for longer than the mandatory four weeks. There’s even an outside chance he could miss the rest of the Championship campaign, though a ban of 6-8 weeks is probably more likely.

Galvin’s mother-of-all hissy fits overshadowed the other big news from Munster yesterday where Cork showed that they’re still heading backwards. Limerick were desperately unlucky not to scalp the Donkey Ayters, having led by three points with a minute to go. However, a bit like the Turks on the telly last night, Cork engineered a late smash and grab, with two injury-time goals securing an undeserved victory. Even Paul Galvin, smouldering in his sin bin, can take some comfort in the knowledge that the ragged Leesiders are unlikely to check the Kingdom’s march to Croker for the business end of the Championship dish ear.

But the Kerrymen will still be sniffing the breeze and eyeing, perhaps even with a trace of nervousness, the weekend’s events in Ulster. This is because Down – their only true nemesis – are once again on the march and, having overcome Tyrone in a titanic replay that went to extra-time on Saturday night, the Mournemen are unlikely to be fazed by the prospect of meeting Armagh in the semis. If they get over that hurdle, they’d still have to beat Derry or Fermanagh to claim the Ulster crown (it’d be fun to see Kerry face the likes of Tyrone, Armagh and Derry every year, just for starters, like) but Saturday’s night victory now means that Down are credible challengers for Ulster once more (Paddy Power still has them at 9/2 – WJ The Tipster’s Friend reckons that might just be worth a punt) and that they’re likely to make an appearance, either via the front or the back door, in the All-Ireland series. Where, if there is a God, they’ll meet and beat the Kerrymen, provoking, no doubt, an even bigger mickey fit from Kerry’s classy captain.

3 thoughts on “Galway boys advance + the rest of the weekend’s action

  1. I seem to remember a fair bit of speculation on the prospects of Down way back in January.

    They might not have been too far off the mark.

  2. Galvin’s should be an open and shut case- 12 weeks on his gluteus maximus- but no-one I’ve listened to or read is confidently predicting that he will get this.

    In fairness, ( and I know this point has been beaten to death) what sort of a mess are we wallowing in when no-one is even half-sure of the punishment for a particular infraction? It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that Galvin will get off scot free!

  3. You’re right – he could beat the rap completely. I was incorrect in saying on the post that Paddy Russell converted the second yellow to a straight red and so, unless the CCCC decides to act on all the shenanigans that followed, he’ll be available for the Munster final. However, in light of the Meath-Dublin brouhaha, I can’t see a situation where such a high profile player abuses both the ref (even if knocking his book off him was unintentional, which it appeared to be) and the linesman and then gets into a scrap with his own teammate can get away without at least the same sanction as the Meath and Dublin lads got. That would put it in the 4-8 week bracket, I reckon.

    PG’s apology was perfectly scripted for this morning’s papers and it won’t have done him any harm at all. In fairness to the Kerry lads, they’re quick off the mark with the mea culpas – remember Donaghy got his apology in early after the McHale Park incident (even though he was more sinned against than sinning in relation to that one). It’s not just those quick scores that they’re practicing in training!

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