Title favourites impress in football championship opening

 Liam Silke - back with a bang after a year in New Zealand.

Liam Silke - back with a bang after a year in New Zealand.

The Galway Senior Football Championship started with a bang when Maigh Cuilinn and Corofin made their intentions clear with impressive wins over An Spideal and Salthill/knocknacarra at the weekend.

Corofin took just 15 seconds to land their first major of the game when Jason Leonard rounded his marker and ran through on goal. Just two minutes later some great work by championship debutant Jack McCabe led to him scoring Corofin's second goal, and as a result last year’s county finalists Salthill-Knocknacarra never recovered.

Without John Maher at midfield and minus Rob Finnerty in the forwards, the seasiders were never able to get a foothold in the game, failing to score from play until the 47th minute and scoring just 0-6.

A year away in New Zealand changed little for Liam Silke. The cornerback nullified the threat of Tomo Culhane from play, while also playing forward to score his side's third goal early in the second half.

Kieran Molloy marked his return to championship football for his club with a fine point late on before Dylan Canney wrapped up the scoring for his side in injury time to finish the game 3-10 to 0-6.

Elsewhere in group two Killanin and Bearna played out a 1-6 to 0-9 draw in Pearse Stadium and Oughterard, who looked to be enjoying a facile victory over Caherlistrane, conceded three late goals to win by just a point, 0-12 to 3-2.

In group one champions Maigh Cuilinn continued where they left off last season by easily dismantling An Spideal with five early unanswered points. They never let the Gaeltacht side back in the game, finishing with an impressive score of 1-19 to 0-6.

An Owen Gallagher goal in the 20th minute effectively ended the game as a contest as it put his side 1-7 to 0-1 ahead. Despite currently missing Galway captain Seán Kelly, Maigh Cuilinn still looked very impressive and are sure to still be there at the business end of the season.

Also in group one Milltown overcame a late Leitir Mor rally to win 0-11 to 0-9 and St James’ defeated Annaghdown 0-8 to 1-4 to get their campaign off to a much better start than last year when they ended the season fighting relegation.

With the experience of Barry Downey on the line and Paul Conroy on the pitch, the Jimmies have put themselves in a great position to kick on after their disappointing 2022.

In group three Dunmore were unlucky to not get anything from their game on Friday, losing to St Michael's by 2-8 to 1-8.

Having missed a penalty and a couple more chances, the newly promoted side could have caused a shock on opening day in what is a very tough group.

With Tuam having a bye for round one, the only other game in the group was Mountbellew/Moylough v Claregalway. It was a fairly even game, but Mountbellew always had that little bit extra, leading by three at half-time and winning by six. James Foley, Matthew Barrett, and Barry McHugh all impressed with a solid result to start their year, winning 2-11 to 1-08.

Results

Group 1: Maigh Cuilinn 1-19 An Spideal 0-6; Milltown 0-11 Naomh Anna Leitir Mor 0-9; St James 0-8 Annaghdown 1-4.

Group 2: Corofin 3-10 Salthill/Knocknacarra 0-6; Oughterard 0-12 Caherlistrane 3-2; Killanin 1-6 Bearna 0-9.

Group 3: St Michaels 2-8 Dunmore 1-8; Mountbellew/Moylough 2-11 Claregalway 1-8.

 

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