Galway are into the Connacht Senior Football Championship Final after a hard-fought win over Sligo at Markievicz Park.
In truth, former Tribal star Kevin Walsh could easily have put one
over on his native county, for his Yeats warriors played enough
football and showed sufficient passion to win this one.
The fact that Liam Sammon’s side scored 1-01 in stoppage time to deny the home side the replay that they probably deserved speaks volumes for the difficulty Galway experienced against the NFL Division Four champions.
Padraic Joyce and Sean Armstrong used craft and pace to engineer a couple of early scores, and when Joyce skipped past Ross Donavan to shoot his second, the Tribesmen were on a roll.
Wing back Gareth Bradshaw landed a long range effort, and a superb effort from Armstrong made it 0-05 to 0-01 on 14 minutes, and Sligo supporters in the new stand were beginning to fear the worst.
Eamonn O’Hara was called out from full forward to lend a hand at
midfield, and Sean Davey responded with a point when with a little more composure he might have hit the net.
Armstrong also had a sight at goal, but opted to pop the ball over the bar on end of a quick-handed move.
Michael Meehan scored his only point of the first half from a free, and Cormac Bane made it 0-08 to 0-02 to add to the Yeats woes.
But in the final seven minutes of the half, Sligo drew inspiration
Mark Breheny notched a couple of scores and defenders Ross Donovan and Jonathan Davey swung over superb points from the right wing.
At half-time, they were looking at a manageable 0-8 to 0-6 deficit,
with wind advantage still to come.
And substitute Kenneth Sweeney forced Adrian Faherty into a superb save within seconds of the restart, with David Kelly converting the resultant 45 to lave just a point between the sides.
But no sooner had Adrian Marren brought the sides level, than Sligo were down to 14 men as centre back Neil Ewing picked up a second yellow card.
Just a minute later, however, a straight red to Galway midfielder
Garry O’Donnell restored parity.
Meehan finally got some space to shoot a couple of points from play, but Sligo, with Donovan and Jonathan Davey performing heroic roles and Alan Costello probing, refused to lie down.
Sub Stephen Coen brought them level midway through the half, but once again Galway pulled two clear through Joyce.
Another push from the home side saw Kelly land a couple of frees to equalise, and as the game slipped into stoppage time, talk of a replay was on everyone’s lips.
But the Tribesmen laid on a devastating finale. Joe Bergin slotted the lead point, and Joyce turned over possession to send Armstrong in for a last gasp goal.
Sligo: P Greene, C Harrison, N McGuire, R Donovan (0-01), M McNamara, N Ewing, J Davey (0-01), T Taylor, E Mullen, E O'Hara, A Costello, S Davey (0-01), D Kelly (0-04, 2f 1 ‘45’), M Breheny (0-02, 2f), A Marren (0-02, 2f).
Subs: K Sweeney for S Davey (31), P McGovern for Harrison (h-t), S Coen (0-01)for Marren (53),
Galway: A Faherty, D Burke, F Hanley, N Coyne, G Bradshaw (0-01), D Blake, D Meehan, P Conway, G O'Donnell, C Bane (0-01), P Joyce (0-03), J Bergin (0-01), S Armstrong (1-03), M Meehan (0-04, 2f), M Clancy.
Subs: JJ Greaney for Clancy (15), N Coleman for Bane (h-t)m G Sice for D Meehan (43), B Cullinane for Bane (56), K Fitzgerald for Hanley (61)
Referee: D Fahy (Longford)