Galway delivered a firm statement of intent at Tuam Stadium this afternoon, inflicting a merciless 2-25 to 0-12 drubbing on 13-man Tyrone.
While it was a magnificent day for Padraic Joyce and his charges as they marched up the table onto six points, the game had the makings of a true nightmare for the losers, who had Kieran McGeary and Frank Burns sent off in either half whilst also losing attacking talisman Cathal McShane to a nasty-looking leg injury. Defeat also plunges them into a relegation quagmire with three tricky games to come.
The winners produced a devastating first-half display to lead by 0-12 to 0-6 at the break, playing a wonderful brand of direct, no-nonsense football to leave their opponents chasing shadows at times.
On one of the occasions when the Red Hands did catch up with the flying hosts – McGeary clattering into his fellow No.10 Eamonn Brannigan with a hefty shoulder in the 27th minute – the visiting wing forward was shown a straight red card much to the bemusement of many onlookers in Tuam. McGeary showed some real class by going back to check on the well-being of his opponent after the obvious disppointment of seeing red.
The Tribesmen led by nine points to four at that stage, captain Shane Walsh arrowing over the resultant free to extend the gap to six, Robert Finnerty and Niall Sludden swapping points before McCurry’s free cancelled out Ronan Steede’s third of the day.
McCurry opened the scoring from a free but the Tribesmen hit back with a run of points from Steede, Damien Comer and Brannigan to lead by three points to one after eight minutes. Steede registered for the second time after McShane drilled his close-range effort over the bar, Comer cancelling out McShane’s second.
Walsh made it double scores at the midway point in the first half, Connor Gleeson dealing with a Colm Cavanagh goal effort before Adrian Varley and Walsh made it four unanswered points for the hosts as they stormed five clear, 0-8 to 0-3. McGeary grabbed himself a point before his controversial dismissal but Michael Daly was on hand to reply with Galway’s ninth score 90 seconds later.
The Red Hands’ day went from bad to worse when McShane was stretchered from the fray after Walsh had increased the Galway lead upon the restart, the 14 men to their credit rallying with a brace of pointed McCurry frees and they were back within three points when McCurry and Mark Bradley pointed following a Varley strike for the hosts.
Any hopes of an unlikely Tyrone recovery were put to bed in the 53rd minute, however, when Walsh planted his penalty down the middle of the goal (following a foul on the marauding Comer) to double the difference – 1-14 to 0-11. Daly made it a seven-point game and Walsh tacked on two more frees, with Mickey Harte’s men reduced to 13 men in between as Burns picked up his second yellow card.
Having pointed seconds earlier, Paul Conroy bagged Galway’s second major nine minutes from the end, Walsh bringing his tally to 1-7 with a stunning long-range point from play and Brannigan’s quickfire treble leaving 17 between the teams with three minutes left.
McCurry nailed his seventh point in the 69th minute but Varley replied instantly, Walsh and Varley inflicting further damage to the Red Hands’ score difference in added time.
Galway - C Gleeson; S Kelly, S Mulkerrin, J Heaney; G O’Donnell, L Silke, C McDaid; R Steede (0-3), C Darcy; E Brannigan (0-4), D Comer (0-2), M Daly (0-2); R Finnerty (0-1), S Walsh (1-8, 1-0pen, 0-5f), A Varley (0-4). Subs: T Flynn for C Darcy, P Conroy (1-1) for R Finnerty, D Conneely for M Daly, C Campbell for G O’Donnell, SA O Ceallaigh for C McDaid.
Tyrone - N Morgan; N Kelly, R McNamee, L Rafferty; T McCann, R Brennan, P Harte; C Cavanagh, B Kennedy; K McGeary (0-1), N Sludden (0-1), D McCurry (0-7, 6f); F Burns, C McShane (0-2), C Meyler. Subs: P Hampsey for C Cavanagh, M McKernan for N Kelly, M Bradley (0-1) for C McShane, B McDonnell for B Kennedy, C Grimes for T McCann.
Referee - C Lane.Tweet