Padraic Joyce hooks Shane Walsh as Galway cruise past Sligo 9 months ago

Padraic Joyce hooks Shane Walsh as Galway cruise past Sligo

Galway 2-20 0-12 Sligo.

Galway cruised past Sligo in the Connacht final but Padraic Joyce's decision to hook Shane Walsh five minutes into the second half could be a concern.

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Sligo got off to a good start with Pat Spillane kicking a wonderful point to get the ball rolling, but it didn't take long for Galway to settle and take control.

John Daly split the opposition defence with a Paul Scholes-esque pass that floated its way into the preying hands of Damien Comer, who slipped it to Matthew Tierney for goal.

Walsh was very quiet in the first half but just as Comer stepped up in the semi-final against Roscommon, today was Tierney's turn to shine.

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The wing half forward got a second goal, burying the ball past the goalkeeper after a wonderfully worked score by the tribesmen, who were showing off the full extent of their talent.

Ian Burke another forward who had brought his shooting boots, kicking two points, his first being particularly sublime, however, his black card did mean that his team were a man down for ten minutes of the game.

The second half started much the same, with Sligo getting a good score through Niall Murphy, but the gap wasn't closed for long as Galway regained control soon after.

With the clock ticking just past the 40 minute mark, the substitute board went up to signal that Walsh would be coming off the pitch, rising concerns that he might have picked up an injury.

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Galway

However, the RTE commentators revealed that there was no injury and that he simply got the curly finger from his manager after putting in a performance that was below his expected standard.

The Kilmacud Crokes forward kicked nine points in last year's All-Ireland final, so the weight of expectation is on the sharp showers shoulders this season.

Walsh missed much of the league as he took a trip away after his club won the club All-Ireland, meaning that he was maybe chasing his sharpness early on.

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The first two games of the Connacht championship didn't seem to bring out the best in him either, but with the Sligo game all but finished from the start of the second half, Joyce maybe thought it was best to rest him.

Enda McGinley was co-commentator on RTE and he made that point that staying on the filed would have given Walsh the opportunity to get some scores and catapult his season, much like Rian O'Neill's goal against Down did for the Armagh captain.

With Robert Finnerty, Comer, Burke, Tierney and Peter Cook all stepping up to the plate, Galway can look elsewhere to get scores when their talisman isn't firing.

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However, you need your best players in top condition if you want to win All-Irelands, so Joyce will be looking for Walsh to regain his top form sooner rather than later.

One player he doesn't have to worry about is Tierney who just tormented Sligo for the entire match, kicking 2-5 from play, 2-7 in total, and leading by example up front.

Galway are the Connacht champions for the second year in a row, but they will be looking to go one further and pick up the Sam Maguire at the send of the season.

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