Galway 3-36 Westmeath 1-17
By Cian O’Connell at Pearse Stadium
The opening 26 minutes captured Galway’s ruthless efficiency in Salthill.
From 23 shots Galway registered 2-20 during a blistering spell. Westmeath, who summoned a defiant second half display, simply couldn’t cope initially.
Galway were primed for this encounter planting a 12th minute goal courtesy of Cianan Fahy which edged them into a 1-8 to 0-1 lead.
Former Galway player Davy Glennon replied with a Westmeath point, but the locals then struck 1-5 on the spin. It was that sort of start from Henry Shefflin’s charges.
Joseph Cooney’s 18th minute major arrived following a delightful passage of play featuring David Burke and Brian Concannon. Cooney, who finished with 1-5, supplied a crisp finish and when the interval rolled around Galway were 2-25 to 0-8 in front.
That 2-25 had been accumulated from 33 attempts demonstrated just how effective Galway were.
Westmeath did narrow the gap five minutes after the restart as Niall Mitchell’s pass found Derek McNicholas, who rifled a sweet goal for the spirited visitors.
Galway, not as clinical as early on, still grabbed a third goal in the 56th minute when Conor Cooney converted a penalty following a Robbie Greville foul.
David Burke and Cathal Mannion were prominent for Galway, while Fahy provided 1-4 from play ahead of next Sunday’s eagerly anticipated Leinster Senior Hurling Championship against Kilkenny. With Shefflin and Brian Cody patrolling the line it should be interesting.
Scorers for Galway: Conor Cooney 1-8 (1-0 pen, 5fs), Joseph Cooney 1-5, Cianan Fahy 1-4, Cathal Mannion 0-4, David Burke 0-3, Evan Niland, Padraic Mannion, Brian Concannon, and Gavin Lee 0-2 each, Darren Morrissey, Fintan Burke, Eanna Burke, and Tom Monaghan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Westmeath: Killian Doyle 0-14 (12fs, 165), Derek McNicholas 1-0, Davy Glennon, Kevin Regan, and Johnny Bermingham 0-1 each.
GALWAY: Eanna Murphy; Jack Grealish, Daithí Burke, Darren Morrissey; Pádraic Mannion, Gearóid McInerney, Fintan Burke; David Burke, Cathal Mannion; Tom Monaghan, Conor Cooney, Joseph Cooney; Evan Niland, Cianan Fahy, Brian Concannon.
Subs: Tiernan Killeen for P Mannion (HT), Kevin Cooney for Monaghan (53), Gavin Lee for Niland (59), Eanna Burke for C Cooney (63), Johnny Coen for Daithí Burke (67)
WESTMEATH: Conor Bracken; Conor Shaw, Tommy Doyle, Johnny Bermingham; Aaron Craig, Robbie Greville, Jack Galvin; Cormac Boyle, Kevin Regan; Davy Glennon, Niall O’Brien, Joey Boyle; Derek McNicholas, Niall Mitchell, Killian Doyle.
Subs: Conor Kane for C Boyle (48), Owen McCabe for McNicholas (51), Alan Cox for Doyle (51), Jack Gillen for Mitchell (58), Shane McGovern for O’Brien (66)
REFEREE: Patrick Murphy (Carlow).