Galway beat 14-man Derry as Monaghan & Cavan lose

Derry's Gareth McKinless holds his head in his hands after being sent off by Kildare referee Brendan Cawley at Salthill
Galway exploited Gareth McKinless' 21st-minute red card to take control of the All-Ireland Football Championship Group 1 opener [Getty Images]

Derry's hopes of regrouping quickly following their early Ulster SFC exit were dashed as they were beaten 2-14 to 0-15 by Galway in their All-Ireland Championship opener at Salthill.

Gareth McKinless' sending off for standing on Damien Comer's ankle - when the sides were level at 0-4 to 0-4 - was a huge moment as Galway took control to lead 0-8 to 0-6 at half-time.

A Sean Kelly goal helped extend Galway's lead to six and while Derry cut the margin to three, Cein Darcy's 63rd-minute breakaway goal sealed the Tribesmen's triumph.

In Saturday's other opening Super 16s games, Kerry outclassed Monaghan 0-24 to 1-11 in Killarney with Mayo earning a dominant 0-20 to 1-8 over Cavan at Castlebar.

Derry made a promising start as their defensive structure initially frustrated Galway but McKinless' indiscipline, as he clearly trod on Comer after having fouled the Galway forward, was exploited by Padraic Joyce's side for whom captain Paul Conroy, John Daly and Shane McGuigan's marker Johnny McGrath all excelled.

After a second successive championship defeat, the Oak Leafers, who many tipped as likely All-Ireland winners after clinching the Allianz Football League title in March, will be back in action against beaten Ulster Finalists Armagh in two weeks when Galway will take on Westmeath.

Kerry's David Clifford is tackled by Monaghan's Ryan Wylie
David Clifford and his Kerry team-mates led 0-15 to 0-2 at half-time in Killarney [Getty Images]

Kerry too strong for Farneymen

Monaghan suffered a sobering 0-24 to 1-11 defeat by Kerry in their Group 4 opener in Killarney.

The Kingdom led 0-15 to 0-2 at half-time with David Clifford and his five forward colleagues all on the scoresheet by that stage.

Gary Mohan grabbed a goal for the Farneymen midway through the second period.

As the game quickly petered out, Paul Geaney kept the scoreboard ticking for the hosts while man of the match Tom O’Sullivan weighed in with three scores from corner-back.

After Mohan scored Monaghan’s opening score Kerry rattled off seven successive points to take the game away from Vinny Corey’s men.

Conor McCarthy, who had failed to take a glorious early goal chance for Monaghan as Shane Ryan saved his pointblank shot, stopped the Ulster side’s drought but the Kingdom kicked a further seven points before the break to lead by 13.

With Louth and Meath also in Group 4, there could be better days ahead for Monaghan in this year’s Championship.

However, they were no match for their opponents in Killarney.

Punished for every turnover, Kerry made them pay. Sean O’Shea (0-3), Clifford (0-5) and Geaney (0-5) terrorised the Farney backline as the Kingdom ran out resounding winners.

Cavan well beaten in Castlebar

Matty Ruane catches the ball
Matty Ruane was an influential presence in the Mayo midfield [Inpho]

Having lost forward Paddy Lynch to a cruciate injury following their UIster Championship exit at the hands of Tyrone, Cavan travelled to Castlebar on Saturday evening shorn of key personnel and momentum.

And Mayo indeed proved far too strong for the Breffnimen as they recorded a comfortable nine-point win.

With Mayo dominant on their own kick-outs, Matty Ruane was hugely influential from midfield as he finished the evening with three points.

Mayo's two corner forwards, Ryan O'Donoghue (0-7) and Cillian O'Connor (0-4), accounted for more than half of the home side's scores, while Darren McHale chipped in with two.

Leading 0-9 to 0-5 at the break, Mayo went five up through O'Donoghue, and while Tiarnan Madden responded for Cavan, Kevin McStay's side looked home and hosed after O'Connor and Stephen Coen efforts.

Even with James Smith's 58th-minute goal for Cavan and a late black card for Mayo centre-back Sam Callinan, the Connacht side never looked in danger of letting the Ulster side back into the contest.

Cavan must now regroup in time to host All-Ireland champions Dublin in a fortnight's time.