Galway booked their place in the last four of the All-Ireland series with a narrow 0-19 to 0-16 win over Kildare at Newbridge on Sunday.
The loss means Kildare are out of contention now to reach the semi-finals but to be fair to them they pushed Galway all the way in this contest. However, there hopes were dented when Daniel Flynn was given a straight red card 10 minutes into the second period. The sides were level on 0-03 each inside the opening 10 minutes of the first half, however the imperious Shane Walsh knocked over a free to give the Galway men the lead on 12 minutes, before Damian Comer fired over to even extend the lead. Galway were denied a goal by some superb defending from Lilywhite corner back Mick O’Grady, who got back on his line to deny Patrick Sweeney on 15 minutes. Fergal Conway went down the other end to get a good score for Kildare. Kildare hit the front for the first time on 20 minutes, Paul Cribben and Neill Flynn pointing to draw the sides level yet again.
Johnny Heaney made is six points each, before Neill Flynn kicked over from distance. Cribben doubled the Lilywhites advantage minutes later, only for Comer to fist over followed by a well taken score from Cathal Sweeney. Daniel Flynn scored a superb point on 27 minutes and Conway stretched the lead to two a minute later. Shane Walsh then hit a brace of points to leave the sides level with 3 minutes left in the first half. Tom Flynn closed the scoring in the half with a fisted effort that separated the sides at the break.
Mark Donnellan was called into action on the resumption denying Shane Walsh with a superb diving save. Shane Walsh and Paddy Brophy traded scores. Gareth Bradshaw kicked a trademark score on 45 minutes, to restore the two point lead. The tie then swayed in the westerners favour when Kildare had Flynn sent off by referee Sean Hurson for an off to ball challenge on Sean Andy O Ceallaigh. Eamonn Brannigan and Paul Cribbin traded scores before Damian Comer seen his goal ruled out for over carrying. Ian Burke made it a three point game with 15 minutes to go, however Brophy kept Cian O’Neill’s men in touch. O’Ceallaigh then pointed on 61 minutes as the game was nearing nervous times for both sides. Neill Flynn cut the gap to two with 8 minutes to go and the home side failed to wilt and Flynn cut the deficit even further on 64 minutes.
Galway looked under pressure now to be fair, but Sean Armstrong remained calm to pop over a nice score. Kevin Feely was off target at the other end for the Lilywhites to try get back on level terms. Kildare substitute Chris Healy made it a 1 point game on 68 minutes, but Sean Kelly responded in injury time for Galway with a fisted effort. Comer closed the scoring as Galway march on to the semi-final while the Lilywhites bow out of championship 2018.
Galway – Ruairi Lavelle; Declan Kyne, Sean Andy O Ceallaigh, Eoghan Kerin; Gareth Bradshaw (0-1), Johnny Heaney (0-1), Cathal Sweeney (0-1); Peter Cooke (0-1), Thomas Flynn (0-1); Sean Kelly (0-1), Shane Walsh (0-4, 3f), Michael Daly (0-2); Ian Burke (0-1), Damien Comer (0-3), Eamonn Brannigan (0-1). Subs: Patrick Sweeney for Daly (10mins), Sean Armstrong (0-1) for P Sweeney (51), Gary O’Donnell (0-1) for Heaney (54), Adrian Varley for Brannigan (59, BC), Johnny Duane for O Ceallaigh (67), Fiontan O Cuarraoin for Flynn (70)
Kildare – Mark Donnellan; Peter Kelly, Mick O’Grady, David Hyland; Eoin Doyle, Kevin Flynn (0-1), Johnny Byrne; Kevin Feely, Tommy Moolick; Keith Cribbin, Paul Cribbin (0-3), Fergal Conway (0-2); Neil Flynn (0-5, 3f), Daniel Flynn (0-2), Paddy Brophy (0-2). Subs: Niall Kelly for Moolick (50mins), Chris Healy (0-1) for K Cribbin (53), James Murray for P Kelly (59), David Slattery for P Cribbin (62), Eamonn Callaghan for Brophy (68, BC), Fionn Dowling for Conway (75)
Ref: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)