Connacht SFC: Galway survive London scare
Connacht Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final
GALWAY 0-16 LONDON 1-9
By Billy Coss at McGovern Park, Ruislip
Reigning Connacht champions Galway survived a major scare before emerging with a hard-earned four-point victory over London at McGovern Park, Ruislip this afternoon.
Kevin Walsh’s side never trailed over the 70 minutes but a late first half rally, inspired by a brilliant Killian Butler goal, saw London turnaround on level terms and push the visitors every step of the way in the second half.
Galway’s previous five visits to Ruislip ended with double-digit winning margins and though they opened an 0-8 to 0-3 lead, a well-prepared London refused to fold.
Shane Walsh (two frees), Johnny Heaney, Michael Daly, Liam Silke, Ian Burke, Antaine Ó Laoi and Tom Flynn were all on target for the Tribesmen, and they could have been even further in front after creating a handful of goal chances.
Midfielder Tom Flynn, one of Galway’s top performers, was denied the best of them by a superb save from London ‘keeper Gavin McEvoy.
The remainder of the half belonged to Ciaran Deely’s charges, and they were boosted by that 25th minute goal by the impressive Butler after the corner-forward gave Eoghan Kerin the slip and cracked an unstoppable drive past Ruairí Lavelle.
With their tails up, London kicked on and three of the next four points saw them go in level, 1-6 to 0-9, with captain Liam Gavaghan and Conor Doran both on the mark.
Two Shane Walsh points and one apiece from Gary O’Donnell and Ian Burke gave a below-par Galway some vital breathing space early in the second half but they were given a stern test from the Exiles once more.
Killian Butler and Conor Doran always looked threatening upfront and efforts from the latter and Fearghal McMahon pared it back to a three-point game.
Indeed, had London been more clinical they would have applied even more pressure in the closing stages, especially when Butler flashed his shot just inches wide of goal in the 67th minute.
Galway weathered that spirited fightback, however, and held on to set up a Connacht semi-final with Sligo in Markievicz Park on Sunday week. London, meanwhile, switch their focus to the qualifiers.
Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-7 (5fs, 1 45), Ian Burke 0-2, Antaine Ó Laoi 0-1, Padraic Cunningham 0-1, Johnny Heaney 0-1, Michael Daly 0-1, Liam Silke 0-1, Tom Flynn 0-1, Gary O’Donnell 0-1.
Scorers for London: Conor Doran 0-6 (3fs), Killian Butler 1-1, Liam Gavaghan 0-1, Fearghal McMahon 0-1.
GALWAY: Ruairí Lavelle; Eoghan Kerin, Sean Andy Ó Ceallaigh, David Wynne; Gary O’Donnell, John Daly, Liam Silke; Tom Flynn, Michael Daly; Antaine Ó Laoi, Padraic Cunningham, Johnny Heaney; Ian Burke, Shane Walsh, Danny Cummins.
Subs: Rob Finnerty for Cummins (49), Fiontán Ó Curraoin for Cunningham (53), Gareth Bradshaw for O’Donnell (62), Eamonn Brannigan for Michael Daly (70), Finnian Ó Laoi for Heaney (74).
LONDON: Gavin McEvoy; Conor O’Neill, Matthew Moynihan, Philip Butler; David Carrabine, Michael Clarke, Eoin Flanagan; Anthony McDermott, Liam Feerick; Fearghal McMahon, Liam Gavaghan, Barry Tully; Mark Gottsche, Killian Butler, Conor Doran.
Subs: Aidan McGarvey for Tully (65), Sean Hickey for Doran (65), James Hynes for McMahon (65), David Dunne for Carrabine (65), Pierce McGirr for O’Neill (74).
REFEREE: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh).