Galway beat a brave Mayo side in the Connacht football final on a scoreline of 1-14 to 0-13 today.
Mayo were playing against the breeze in the first half, but seemed fired up for the match and didn’t allow Galway get into a rhythm. Galway scored the opening two points through Padraig and Nicholas Joyce while Mayo responded through Conor Mortimer. An unfortunate headclash meant Galway lost Paul Clancy and Mayo lost Fergal Costello. Declan Sweeney equalised for Mayo. On 22 minutes Mayo went ahead for the first time through Brian Moloney on a scoreline of 0-05 to 0-04. Galway still hadn’t gotten into their stride and Mayo seemed comfortable against the wind.
Then, on 26 minutes, came the turning point. A penalty was awarded to Mayo after a Gary Mullins ball caused panic in the Galway backline and Comer fouled Conor Mortimer. Stephen Carolan stepped up to take the penalty but blazed it wide. Galway brought on Michael Donnellan comes on for Jarlath Fallon and Mayo heads began to drop. With seconds to go in the first half Matthew Clancy breached the Mayo backline and stuck it in the back of the net to have Galway leading, in spite of a poor performance, by 1-07 to 0-05.
In the second half Mayo didn’t lie down and capitalised on their wind advantage to string together some good scores through Conor Mortimer. Galway, however, were still very much in control and Joe Bergin kept their noses in front. By the 58th minute Mayo were within a points of Galway thanks to a point from Maurice Sheridan. Two minutes later Michael Savage was in on goal and drilled at Mayo ‘keeper Ruddy who saved but was forced to scrabble to grab the ball as it bobbled under his body.
As the seconds ticked away, Mayo more and more urgently needed a goal, but Galway called on reserves of experience to continue to take their points and keep a goal and a point ahead. Mayo’s discipline failed them and Fergal Kelly was given a straight red for elbowing a Galway man in the head. It would make no difference as, after almost five minutes of injury time, the final whistle was blown.
Filed by Barry J Whyte