By Daragh Small
Joseph Cooney scored both goals as reigning champions Galway made it three from three in Division 1B of the NHL with victory over the 14 men of Offaly at Pearse Stadium.
It now looks set to be a straight shootout between Galway and Limerick for promotion to the top tier when they clash in Salthill next month.
Galway were 1-9 to 0-8 ahead at half-time after the Sarsfields clubman goaled, and he added another on the resumption, before Offaly’s Shane Kinsella got a red card.
The Offaly substitutes did well when they were introduced and that was a big plus ahead of their clash with Laois, while Galway are through to the knockout stages.
Cathal Mannion put Galway in front inside 15 seconds but despite playing against the breeze Offaly composed themselves, and they hit the next three scores.
Damien Egan scored first, from a free in the second minute, and points from Dan Currams and captain David King gave Offaly a 0-3 to 0-1 lead.
But Galway struck back with a goal in the eighth minute and it all stemmed from a bad mix up in the Offaly defence.
Conor Cooney found Davy Glennon in plenty of space after he lost his marker, and Joseph Cooney was on hand to finish past goalkeeper Eoghan Cahill.
Offaly drew level through a long range Currams effort in the 16th minute and Cahill made a wonderful save to deny Joseph Cooney when he was straight through on goal.
Galway scored four without reply with Sean Loftus, Paul Flaherty, Cathal Mannion and Conor Cooney all on target.
But Offaly stayed in the fight and after Cathal Mannion and Joe Cooney missed goal chances before the break it was 1-9 to 0-8 at half-time.
Joseph Cooney scored his second goal two minutes after the interval and disaster struck for Offaly in the 42nd minute when Kinsella got a straight red for an off-the-ball incident.
Galway could have run up a massive score but Davy Glennon was also denied by Cahill. Offaly substitute Tommy Geraghty also impressed with three points, but Shane Dooley saw his late penalty saved by James Skehill.
Galway: J Cooney 2-1, C Cooney 0-7 (0-4f), C Mannion 0-5, S Loftus 0-3, P Flaherty 0-2, N Burke 0-1
Offaly: D Egan 0-3 (0-3f), D Currams 0-3, T Geraghty 0-3, S Dooley 0-2 (0-2f), S Kinsella 0-2, D King 0-1
Galway: J Skehill; A Tuohy, P Mannion, S Bannon; S Cooney, G McInerney, A Harte (B Flaherty 59); J Coen (K McHugo 66), S Loftus; J Cooney (N Burke 39), C Mannion, P Flaherty; C Cooney, C Whelan (B Concannon 53), D Glennon (J Coyne 69).
Subs: J Hanbury, G Lally, J Grealish, M Donoghue, B Flaherty, K McHugo, B Concannon, J Mooney, N Burke, B Molloy, J Flynn, S Maloney.
Offaly: E Cahill; B Conneely, S Gardiner, T Spain; D O’Toole, P Camon, J Quinn (D Shortt 35); D King (S Dooley 53), P Delaney (T Geraghty 35); C Gath (C Egan 48), S Kinsella, O Kelly (J Bergin 65); D Egan, C Mahon, D Currams.
Subs: C Clancy, D Shortt, P Rigney, D Doughan, T Geraghty, C Egan, S Dooley, J Bergin, L Langton, C Kiely, J Gorman.
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork).