Galway fight back in second half to see off Armagh in frenzied affair

Visitors turn up the pace after the break to take the points at the Athletic Grounds

Armagh 1-6 Galway 1-8

A robust second-half performance eventually took Galway to victory in this frenzied Allianz League Division One encounter at the Athletic Grounds on Saturday night.

The home team looked to have gained a measure of control by half-time but Galway pulled out all the stops in a strong effort after the break that eventually took them to victory.

Armagh opened brightly and kept Galway pegged back in their own half for the greater part of the first quarter.

The home team’s tigerish tackling ensured that their visitors were unable to make significant headway and their cause was not helped when the normally reliable Matthew Tierney shot three wides in succession, two from frees.


In contrast, Armagh’s penchant for attacking down both flanks paid dividends with Stefan Campbell’s first-minute point being followed by another from the impressive Gavin Cumiskey.

Galway mounted a series of fruitless raids and were rocked in the 21st minute when Armagh goalkeeper Ethan Rafferty played his part in helping to mount a counterattack and stunned the crowd when his speculative long-range effort eluded Galway goalkeeper Conor Gleeson and ended up in the net.

Galway were stung into action and within a two-minute spell they had trimmed their hosts’ advantage after Johnny Sweeney and Cathal Sweeney fired over points to trim Armagh’s lead to 1-2 to 0-2.

But almost immediately the home team regained their rhythm and when Rian O’Neill and Ciarán Mackin tacked on points, their side regained an air of authority. A further point from Rory Grugan gave Kieran McGeeney’s side a 1-4 to 0-3 interval lead.

If the first half was rather tame, the second period offered explosive action as Galway stepped up a gear.

Galway, whose pace and commitment sustained their concerted second-half effort, clawed back the Armagh lead and after Johnny Heany and Tomo Culhane had set the tone for their surge, the westerners began to play with much greater conviction.

Armagh were unable to regain the poise they had shown before the break and when Paul Conroy, Shane Walsh and Culhane potted points between the 62nd and 68th minutes, Galway were very much in the driving seat.

And they emphasised their dominance in added time when Walsh’s hopeful punt was misjudged by goalkeeper Rafferty and the alert Tierney more than atoned for his earlier misses when he flashed the ball into the net to give his side a hard-earned but deserved victory in the end.

ARMAGH: E Rafferty (1-0); B McCambridge, A McKay, A Forker; C Mackin (0-1), G McCabe, J Óg Burns; S Campbell (0-1), T Kelly; C Cumiskey (0-1), R Grugan (0-1), J McElroy; R O’Neill (0-1), A Murnin, J Duffy.

Subs: J Hall for Cumiskey (29 mins), S Sheridan for Kelly (h-t), C Turbitt for McCabe (47), R McQuillan for McKay (51), N Grimley for Sheridan (58), A Nugent (0-1) for O’Neill (65).

GALWAY: C Gleeson; J McGrath, S Kelly, S Fitzgerald; D McHugh, J Daly, D O’Flaherty; P Conroy (0-1), P Kelly; M Tierney (1-0), J Heaney (0-2), J Maher; P Kelly, S Walsh (0-2, one 45, one free), C Sweeney (0-1).

Subs: R Finnerty for Patrick Kelly (h-t), T Culhane (0-2, two frees) for Paul Kelely (43), D O’Flaherty for Maher (67), B Mannion for Hernon (69), R Monaghan for Daly (76).

Referee: David Gough (Meath).