The Derry manager, Paddy Crozier, scratched his head and mentioned the fact that his team had actually scored more often than the winners, but he has been around long enough to know the value of goals, and to accept that his defense was no match for the Galway forwards.
If goalkeeper John Deighan hadn’t been at his sharpest, then Derry might have been overrun. In the end, there was nothing Deighan could do about Michael Meehan’s first-half penalty after Fiachra Breathnach had been fouled, and when Padraic Joyce added a second goal to put Galway 2-6 to 0-6 in front 10 minutes after the break, Galway were freewheeling to a fourth success of the campaign.
Matthew Clancy was the perfect link between defense and attack, and appropriately, he finished the job with his team’s third goal following an assist by substitute Nickey Joyce.
With two rounds remaining, Galway have to travel to Mayo and then they face Kerry at home, with the latter game a possible forerunner of the final.
Kerry’s 0-16 to 0-12 win over Laois at Portlaoise keeps them in joint second place along with Derry and Donegal, and firmly in contention for yet another league title.
It wasn’t as if they had all their own way and if goalkeeper, Kieran Cremin, hadn’t saved Michael Tierney’s penalty late in the game after Paul Lawlor had been fouled, the outcome could have been different.
Much of the credit for the victory has to go Bryan Sheehan whose accuracy from frees kept Kerry in the contest. Sheehan was on target to punish almost every Laois indiscretion and he finished up with an impressive total of 10 points including seven frees and one sideline ball.
Donegal’s bid to retain their title received a setback when the holders were defeated 0-11 to 0-9 by Tyrone at Edendork. It was missed opportunity for Donegal as the winners sealed the result with late points by Tommy McGuigan and Enda McGinley.
Tyrone, who now are in much stronger position to stave off relegation, led by 0-6 to 0-5 at the break, and the sides were still level with 10 minutes remaining, but with Colin Holmes and McGinley beginning to dominate at centerfield, Mickey Harte’s side finished the stronger.
The news for Kildare were not nearly so positive after they lost by 2-14 to 2-8 to Mayo at Newbridge. The margin of six points doesn’t appear too damaging, but after a promising start, Kildare were comprehensively outscored by 2-14 to 0-4 between the eighth and the 67th minutes, and with three points from their five games, the Lilywhites are no in danger of relegation.
“Everybody will have to take a long hard look at themselves, including myself,” said manager, Kieran McGeeney. “I must be doing something wrong if we’re performing like that.”
While Kildare capitulated, Tom Parsons and Andy Moran struck for Mayo’s goals with Conor Mortimer kicking six points including four frees. John Doyle had an early goal for the losers, and then the same player adding a late penalty which was definitely not a consolation score.
There was more than a touch of farce as the Division Two game between Armagh and Dublin was postponed due to a water-logged pitch shortly before the throw-in. Although some 1,500 spectators had already paid 15 euro each to gain access to the ground at Crossmaglen, the organisers found impossible to organise refunds.
The match has now been refixed for next Wednesday, with free admission, although that is little comfort for the hundreds of Dublin supporters who made a fruitless journey to Crossmaglen last Sunday.
Initially, it appeared that the game would go ahead, but after some continuous heavy rain, referee Derek Fahy decided that the pitch was unplayable despite the fact that both managers, Peter McDonnell and Paul Caffrey, felt the fixture should be allowed to proceed.
Meanwhile, the match between Roscommon and Westmeath did go ahead at Kiltoom, but it proved to be the last as Roscommon manager for John Maughan. A day after his side’s 1-14 to 0-6 defeat, Maughan brought his three-year stint to an end after he had come under sustained verbal abuse from some elements of the Roscommon support.
Significantly, he referred to those supporters only as “customers” adding that he didn’t believe that any true GAA supporter would indulge in such a level of personal abuse.
Roscommon have failed to win any of their five league outings to date, and they never looked like reversing that trend as Westmeath strolled to a comfortable win with Dessie Dolan hitting eight points including seven frees.
Monaghan remained on track to reach the Division Two decider when they got the better of Meath by 1-12 to 0-10 at Scotstown. Now two points clear at the top of the table, although Dublin have a game in hand, Monaghan have to travel to Cork and then they take on Westmeath at home.
Meath were over-reliant on Cian Ward who kicked 0-7 from frees, and Monaghan were never behind after a fast start which saw Paul Finlay strike for a goal in the 10th minute.
Relegation-threatened Cavan edged out Cork by 0-13 to 0-12 at Breffni Park where Seanie Johnston hit the vital winning score with three minutes remaining. Donncha O’Connor had an opportunity to level the game for Cork in the dying seconds, but his 45 drifted wide of the target.
On the hurling front, Clare goalkeeping legend, Davy Fitzgerald, announced he was retiring from the inter-county game after a glittering 18-year career. The 36-year-old played a key role in Clare’s All Ireland triumphs of 1995 and ’97, and with 60 successive championship matches under his belt, was on course to break Christy Ring’s record of 63.
Fitzgerald left the county panel last season following a disagreement with manager, Tony Considine, however, the current Clare boss, Mike McNamara, had left the door open for his return.
Meanwhile, Cork got the better of Waterford by 2-17 to 1-19 in a highly entertaining National League Division One play-off at Walsh Park last weekend. Cork now meet Limerick at Killarney in the quarter-finals on Sunday, with Waterford taking on Tipperary at Nowlan Park.