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11th Feb 2018

All hell breaks loose in Salthill as Galway lord it over Mayo again

Matthew Gault

The Tribesmen were deserved winners in Salthill.

Barry McHugh scored a sweetly-struck goal as Galway beat Mayo 1-13 to 0-11 to maintain their perfect start to the Allianz Leagues campaign in an entertaining but increasingly tempestuous encounter at Pearse Stadium.

After a cagey start, Galway opened the scoring through captain Damien Comer – who was brilliant throughout – gathering a Paul Conroy free before pointing impressively on the turn. And the Annaghdown clubman was at it again a minute later, scoring Galway’s second before Cillian O’Connor opened Mayo’s account with a routine free.

Shane Walsh scored the pick of the points after 16 minutes, though, curling a brilliant right-footed effort over the bar after an impressive burst through midfield.

Moving up a gear, Galway pulled further clear via McHugh’s cracking goal, the corner-forward turning sharply before burying a fantastic right-footed drive into the far corner.

Walsh and Paddy Durcan swapped points before two quickfire Mayo scored through Diarmuid O’Connor and Cillian O’Connor to reduced Galway’s advantage to just two points heading into the interval.

McHugh kicked a free four minutes after the restart before Johnny Heaney put the finishing touches on a strong running move from Galway with a well-taken point.

Cillian O’Connor fired his third free of the afternoon before Paul Conroy kicked another point for the home side. Although Mayo kept plugging away, they were ultimately undone by the influential duo of McHugh and Comer, both of whom were stand-out performers for Kevin Walsh’s charges.

Galway eventually ran out 1-13 to 0-11 winners but that was not before a couple of ugly incidents involving both sets of players. The first resulted in Paul Conroy, Patrick Sweeney, Sean Andy O’Ceallaigh, and Aidan O’Shea all being booked before Conroy and Cillian O’Connor were both sent off, the former for a second yellow, the latter after an off the ball incident with Eoghan Kerin.

Less than a minute after Cillian O’Connor’s dismissal, Diarmuid O’Connor followed him down the tunnel, being given his marching orders by referee Anthony Nolan for a second bookable offence.

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