With Galway looking for their first win of the season, and Donegal coming off a loss and a 1-1 record, both teams were keen to right the ship in today's Senior Championship match. Some new faces were present in today's matchup as Ballaghadereen and former Mayo u21 All Ireland winner Shairoze Akram made his debut for Galway, and former AFL and Westmeath footballer Ray Connelan made his debut for Donegal.
Shairoze Akram was a handful for
the Donegal defenders.
The first half was a low scoring affair, with Donegal only scoring 6 points and Galway scoring 4. Galway started out strong, scoring 3 unanswered points from Sean Carrabine, Shairoze Akram, and Adam Gallagher, before Donegal got on the board with a point from corner forward Gary Walsh. Galway had a great chance to go 5 clear when Akram was one on one vs Donegal Goalkeeper Hugh Boyle, however, Boyle made a great save then worked the ball out and started a play which lead to Ray Connelan’s first point of the game. He then managed to level the game with a great point while under immense pressure from the Galway defence. Walsh then scored once again for Donegal before Akram once again levelled the game. This would be the last time the teams would be level as Donegal went on to score the final two points of the half off Jack O’Brien and Sean Donnelly. Donegal had a chance as well in this half to extend the lead with a goal, only for a great save from the Galway Goalkeeper Jamie Kelly and a bit of luck for the Galway team as the ball hit off the post twice to keep the game tight.
Westmeath and former Aussie Rules player
Ray Connellan on the ball for Donegal.
The second half started with Connelan adding to his tally and bringing the tally to 0-7 to 0-4 in Donegal’s favor. Galway started a comeback, with points from Carrabine, and Gallagher bringing it within a point. Then Galway went a man down as wingback James Foley got a black card for sliding into a Donegal player. Due to a yellow card in the first half, this meant that Galway were down to 12 men. After this the game was still kept close with points from both sides, until Donegal made a breakthrough with a goal from Corner forward Gary Walsh to put Donegal 5 points ahead. Gary Walsh would score two more points and John Bingham a point to extend Donegal’s lead. Galway’s only hope for a comeback would be a goal, and they nearly got one near the end of the game when Cian Hanley had a chance on goal only to be denied by the woodwork.
With this victory, Donegal claim their 2nd victory, while Galway go into their next game still seeking their first victory of the season. With three games left and on the back of this promising performance, a playoff place is still very much up for grabs for the westerners.
Donegal: Hugh Boyle, Aidan O’Sullivan, Jack O’Brien, Neil McEneany, John Bingham, Sean Doherty, Ray Connelan, Shane Carthy, Cian Clinton, Tierence Doherty, Sean Donnelly, Nicky Kelly, Gary Walsh
Galway: Jamie Kelly, Mark Mannion, Evan Wynne, Stuart Cullen, Danny Burke, James Foley, Billy Mannion, Cian Hanley, Sean Melville, Adam Gallagher, Shairaze Akrom, Sean Carrabine, Kevin CumminsBy Evan McDonagh
Pictures by Rachel O'Driscoll