Galway launched a superb second half fight back to hold onto their Connacht SFC crown and beat Roscommon by 3-07 to 1-08 at a wet Hyde Park.
Peter Ford's side were made to fight for their provincial lives as the Rossies did their reputations no end of good this afternoon, but Galway served up three telling blows in the second half – a goal each from Sean Armstrong, Michael Meehan and Derek Savage – to set up a Connacht final clash with either Leitrim or Mayo on July 16.
Karol Mannion kicked 0-03 (2f) to inspire Roscommon into a 0-06 to 0-01 lead at the break. Padraic Joyce incredibly opened the visitors' account in injury-time after 36 minutes of wayward shooting.
Galway looked decidedly rusty during the opening exchanges despite it only being three weeks since they beat Sligo. The 50-50 balls were going Roscommon's way and Seamus O'Neill was proving to be a towering figure at centre-field.
The sides' 50th championship meeting came to life with the pinpoint shooting of Mannion, who was stand-in captain with Stephen Lohan benched, and Ger Heneghan. The latter landed a 14-yard free after David Hoey had been fouled in the third-minute.
Galway struck two wides before Mannion sent over a textbook free from the right wing. Heneghan added another and the Rossies were 0-03 to no score clear by the half's midpoint.
Left corner forward Gerry Lohan and Mannion launched over two excellent scores from play as at the other end, Galway chalked up their fifth wide by the half-hour mark. Meehan's ballooned attempt at a free from the right flank just about summed up Galway's first half.
Former skipper Joyce hit a point from a right wing free in injury-time to boost his side, although there was some deliberation about it between the umpires. Joyce also missed out on a goal when he blocked down a free-out from Roscommon keeper Geoffrey Claffey and collected the loose ball to fire home but Laois referee Maurice Deegan ruled it out as Joyce was adjudged to have been too close to championship debutant Claffey when he took the kick.
Galway supporters need not have worried as within two minutes of the restart, they were ahead. Roscommon were left stunned as Armstrong hared through to ripple the home net. Then Galway substitute Damien Dunleavy was fouled and Meehan swept home the spot kick for a sudden 2-01 to 0-06 lead.
Dunleavy's involvement forced skipper Michael Donnellan out to midfield and the Salthill-Knocknacarra star had a huge influence on the second half.
Galway tallied up 2-06 without reply as Meehan, Joyce and Savage began to find their range, and a steady supply of ball from Donnellan and Niall Coleman. A rare mistake from Galway stopper Alan Keane when he failed to clear his lines resulted in Kenny scooping up the ball and holding his nerve to flash a left-footed shot to the net on 57 minutes.
That goal put Roscommon 1-06 to 2-07 behind and a '45' from Heneghan moments later had John Maughan's men right back in contention. But Galway's ability to make chances out of nothing became apparent again in the closing minutes.
Savage's goal was carved out of a poor point attempt from Joyce. Claffey could only punch the initial shot away, Meehan gathered it and fed the well-placed Savage who squeezed a low drive in to the left corner of Claffey's goal. The game was effectively over.
Roscommon tried manfully to get back in touch. Michael Finneran was left ruing his luck when he had Keane beaten but Galway wing back Damien Burke got back to clear off the goal line, and the Tribesmen held on for their fourth championship win on the trot against the Rossies.
Galway: A Keane; K Fitzgerald, F Hanley, D Meehan; A Burke, D Blake, D Burke; N Coleman (0-01), P Geraghty; M Clancy, P Joyce (0-02 (1f)), M Donnellan; M Meehan (1-03 (1-00 pen, 2f, 1 '45')), Derek Savage (1-00), S Armstrong (1-01).
Subs used: D Dunleavy for Geraghty (half time), J Bergin for Clancy (67 mins), C Bane for Armstrong, M Comer for Fitzgerald (both 70).
Roscommon: G Claffey; S McDermott, D Casey, P O'Connor; S Daly, J Nolan, R Dooner; S O'Neill, B Mullin; M Finneran, G Heneghan (0-04 (2f, 1 '45')), J Tiernan; D Hoey, K Mannion (0-03 (2f)), G Lohan (0-01).
Subs used: S Lohan for Hoey (half time), E Kenny (1-00) for Mullin (48 mins), C Cregg for G Lohan (66).
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)