It was all to easy for Micheal O’Donoghue’s men at Innovate Park as they overcame Wexford on a scoreline of 0-17 to 1-23
We look back on the key moments of the game and what it means for both Wexford and the All Ireland champions in Leinster.
1) Galway have the most potent forward line in the country
Galway’s full-forward line scored 1-7 from play between them. Add that to the 12 points knocked over by Joe Canning and who could argue this point?
More importantly, they caused Wexford’s backline huge issues throughout the game. They were physical, strong under the high ball and they constantly made a bee line for the goals. They had created three clear goal chances in the first 10 minutes with Conor Whelan grabbing the game’s only goal after just 90 seconds.
This forward line is for the most part, youthful and energetic. They are playing without fear and are proving a headache for every other defence.
2) This game was as physical as you would have expected
Limerick’s Johnny Murphy was the referee this evening and he was kept busy. Nine yellow cards were distributed including the entire Galway full-back line with Adrian Tuohy also seeing red for a second yellow.
Davy Fitzgerald predicted it to be very crowded around the middle of the field before the game and he was correct, the result being that tackles were flying in.
It is no surprise that the top scorers on both sides were the free takers with Murphy’s whistle getting plenty of use.
3) The late replacement proved to be a stroke of genius from Donoghue
Just after the coin toss, a late change was announced on the Galway side, Johnny Glynn replacing Brian Concannon. From the off, Glynn proved his worth. He used his strength and his height to great effect, causing Wexford all sorts of bother, Simon Donohue in particular who was substituted at half-time as a result.
Within 90 seconds, Conor Whelan had stuck the ball in the net having being set up by Glynn. Within minutes he had knocked over a point of his own and had assisted in two others.
He was unavailable for much of last season for Galway but Donoghue will be hoping to utilise him to the full this summer.
4) It’s not all plain sailing from Galway
It was a dominant display from Galway who seemed to be in cruise mode for most of the game and they firmly established themselves as the team to beat in this championship.
However there are a number of concerns for Micheal Donoghue and his backroom team, not least the sight of Joe Canning hobbling off the field with minutes to go. Canning was in flying form with 0-12 including two glorious sideline cuts but picked up a knee injury. They will need him fully fit to go all the way this summer.
They will also need to improve their discipline. As already mentioned, their entire full-back line was on a yellow card in the first half while Conor Cooney was also carded.
5) Wexford must regroup and go again next week
This was a tough loss for Wexford. They appeared disjointed and tired, relying on frees from the stick of Rory O’Connor. They hit 13 wides, had poor discipline and never got a sniff of a goal.
The squad haven’t much time to reflect on the loss as they have to travel to Nowlan Park to face Kilkenny next Saturday in what will now be a crucial game to determine the Leinster final lineup.
It will be the fourth game in 20 days for Wexford as they may prove to be casualties of the new round-robin system.