Sigerson Cup Preliminary round: NUI Galway 4-12 Trinity College Dublin 1-07
Victory for NUI Galway never looked in doubt as they comfortably dispatched Trinity College Dublin by a margin of 14 points on a stereotypically cold and windy Wednesday afternoon in Dangan on 25 January. This victory now sets up a tricky first round away trip to Belfast to face St Mary’s on Tuesday 31 January.
Having won by 16 points against the same opposition at the same stage last year, NUI Galway were always expected to come through this game and they got off to the perfect start scoring their first goal just two minutes in. Half back Sean Kelly finished convincingly after a clever fisted layoff by Galway intercounty forward Damien Comer.
Another goal for the Corribsiders quickly followed, when on nine minutes a foot-block from a Stephen Conroy shot at goal resulted in a penalty. Conroy’s fellow Mayo man Adam Gallagher stepped forward to calmly send the goalkeeper the wrong way slotting the ball into the bottom corner. A free also converted by Gallagher a couple minutes later meant NUI Galway had raced into 2-2 to no score lead in the early stages. The visitors did not get on the scoresheet until the seventeenth minute when Bryan Magee clipped over a free.
Despite TCD playing very deep, good forward play from NUI Galway helped the home side create plenty of chances throughout the game. Half forward Adam Gallagher built upon strong FBD league form and would have half of his team’s scores at half time notching up 1-3, whilst Damien Comer and Owen Gallagher always seemed available inside with Stephen Conroy and Michael Daly providing good kick passes. The extent of how defensively the Dublin University initially started is exemplified by the fact that Sean Kelly spent most of his time predominantly in the half forward line especially in the first half.
The home side went into half time holding a commanding eight point lead with the score 2-06 to 0-04. The second period began in much the same vain as the first with Damien Comer scoring perhaps the best point of the match with a classy effort on the turn from long range.
However after this the game fell into a lull for a period with only two points coming from the next eighteen minutes of play, both coming from the ever-industrious Sean Kelly – the shining light in a dominant display for Maurice Sheridan’s side. Aware of their need for goals, Trinity did start to threaten in this period. David Boothman saw his shot cleared off the line by Eoin O’Donoghue whilst NUI Galway keeper Tadgh O’Malley made a good save from James Guinness who was consistently the visitor’s biggest threat.
This brief period of TCD pressure was rewarded somewhat when Guinness eventually bet O’Malley with a ferocious strike. However the game was well and truly killed off by a couple of goals either side of Guinness’s finish. Both of these were provided by a pair of substitutes for the side decked out in maroon and white.
Firstly Colm Kelly from Donegal fisted into an open goal following smart build up play by the two half forwards Stephen Conroy and Adam Gallagher, then in the 54th minute Matt McClean expertly slid the ball into the corner of the net after getting on the end of a Comer knockdown that resulted from a Peter Cooke delivery. Trinity got some consolation scoring three of the last four points but the match was long over as a contest at that stage.
After their Division two league campaign which ended with silverware and a solid FBD league performance securing wins against both Mayo and Sligo IT, NUI Galway have momentum and this display will give them even more confidence ahead of the stiffer challenge that awaits next week in St. Mary’s.
NUI Galway scorers: Adam Gallagher 1-4 (1-0pen, 0-2f), Sean Kelly 1-2, Matt McClean 1-1, Colm Kelly 1-0, Michael Daly, Enda Tierney, Damien Comer, Kevin McDonnell and Stephen Conroy 0-1 each
Trinity College Dublin scorers: James Guinness 1-1, Dylan Brady 0-3, Cian O’ Donoghue, Ross McCullagh 0-1 each, Bryan McGee 0-1 (f) each
NUI Galway: Tadgh O’ Malley (Galway), Stephen Brennan (Mayo), Eoin O’ Donoghue (Mayo), Aaron O’ Connor (Kerry), Sean Kelly (Galway), Kevin McDonnell (c) (Sligo), Luke Byrne (Galway), Enda Tierney (Galway), Peter Cooke (Galway), Stephen Conroy (Mayo), Michael Daly (Galway), Adam Gallagher (Mayo), Ruairi Greene (Galway), Damien Comer (Galway), Owen Gallagher (Antrim)
Subs: Colm Kelly (Donegal) for McDonnell H/T, Gerry O’ Kelly-Lynch (Sligo) for O’Connor H/T, Matt McClean (Donegal) for O. Gallagher 45’, Ryan Forde (Galway) for Daly 52’, Kevin Finn (Roscommon) for A. Gallagher 56’, Christian Bonner (Donegal) for Comer 56’.
Trinity College Dublin – Liam Brady; Matthew Shortall, Keelan Beirne, Jack Bell, Daniel Quinn, Tadgh McGahern, James Guinness, Paul Kelly, David Boothman, Stephen Ward, Conor O’Driscoll, Cian O’Donoghue, Dylan Brady, Bryan Magee, Ross McCullagh.
-By Graham Gillespie