Galway crowned Connacht SFL champions
FBD Insurance Connacht GAA Senior Football League Final
GALWAY 1-14 ROSCOMMON 0-11
By Daragh Small at Dr. Hyde Park
New captain Shane Walsh was immense as Galway claimed the FBD Insurance Connacht GAA Senior Football League with a 1-14 to 0-11 victory over Roscommon at Dr Hyde Park.
It is Padraic Joyces first piece of silverware as senior manager. Walsh finished with 1-8 while Galway cruised to an impressive early-season win despite Eamonn Brannigans red card in the 62nd minute.
Galway looked in real trouble coming up to half-time but they regrouped once they fell 0-5 to 0-2 behind. Robert Finnerty scored twice before Walsh turned it on and earned a 0-7 to 0-5 half-time advantage for his side.
Walsh finished a penalty after the break and that finished off Roscommon too.
With star forward Conor Cox missing out through injury, Donie Smith was drafted into the Roscommon starting 15, and he shot the first of their four early wides.
But they did score first when his brother, Enda Smith, set up Niall Kilroy in the ninth minute. Moments later Johnny Heaney blazed Galways first real chance wide.
Galway were showing plenty of invention in their play, and with Adrian Varley the ideal link man up front, captain Walsh scored following a nicely worked move in the 12th minute.
Andrew Glennon and Ciaran Lennon scored two points in a minute to push Roscommon clear only for Michael Boyle to step up and land another wonderful effort from distance.
It was only 0-3 to 0-2 after the opening 15 minutes but there were some flashes of brilliance from both sides, considering the chilly Saturday afternoon in January setting.
Roscommons latest attacking foray saw Richard Hughes get through on goal only to see his shot finish just above Ronan Beolins Galway crossbar.
Donie Smith negotiated a tricky angle to score his first free and leave a goal between the sides before Finnerty fisted a point for Galway.
The game threatened to boil over at times with five yellow cards flashed before Enda Smith was sent to the sin-bin when he dragged Walsh down, right in front of the referee in the 34th minute.
David Murray was the next Roscommon player to go in Jerome Henrys book while Walsh scored three frees in a row to give Galway a 0-7 to 0-5 half-time lead.
Less than two minutes into the second half Galway had their goal, and it was Walsh who slotted home the penalty after he was fouled by David Murray.
He quickly added a free and Galways lead was put to 1-8 to 0-5 and after an uncharacteristic miss, Walsh brought his tally to 1-6.
And after Lennon broke Roscommons 20-minute wait for a score, he doubled up on that and the deficit was back to five with Galway wing-back Cillian McDaid in the sin-bin.
Cathal Cregg got in on the act and when Lennon scored his third point of the half it was 1-9 to 0-9 in the 53rd minute. But Sen Mulkerrin advanced from full-back to score a crucial point in response.
Brannigan was sent-off on a straight red card with eight minutes remaining but Galway held on with Paul Conroy sealing it.
Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 1-8 1-0 pen, 6f, Robert Finnerty 0-2, Paul Conroy 0-2, Michael Boyle 0-1, Sen Mulkerrin 0-1.
Scorers for Roscommon: Ciaran Lennon 0-5 3f, Donie Smith 0-2 1f, Niall Kilroy 0-1, Andrew Glennon 0-1, Richard Hughes 0-1, Cathal Cregg 0-1.
GALWAY: Ronan Beolin; Colin Murray, Sen Mulkerrin, Johnny Duane; Eamonn Brannigan, John Daly, Cillian McDaid; Tom Flynn, Cein DArcy; Sen Kelly, Finian Lao, Michael Boyle; Robert Finnerty, Shane Walsh, Adrian Varley. Subs: Johnny Heaney for Murray 6, inj, Paul Conroy for Kelly 29, Gary ODonnell for Boyle 50, Damien Comer for Finnerty 51, Dessie Conneely for Lao 62.
ROSCOMMON: Patrick OMalley; David Murray, Mark Richardson, David Neary; Ronan Daly, Niall Daly, Richard Hughes; Luke Mollahan, Shane Killoran; Niall Kilroy, Enda Smith, Finbar Cregg; Andrew Glennon, Ciaran Lennon, Donie Smith. Subs: Cathal Cregg for Mollahan 40, Hubert Darcy for F Cregg 44, Gary Patterson for Neary 45, Cian McKeon for Glennon 50, inj, Dylan Ruane Michael Glaveys for Killoran 67.
Referee: Jerome Henry Mayo.