Galway 0-17 Mayo 0-13
Galway manager Padraic Joyce savoured his first win over Mayo in a competitive fixture at the fourth attempt in this evening's FBD Connacht League semi-final at the NUI Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome in Bekan.
Joyce’s well-drilled outfit finished strongly to deservedly beat an experimental Mayo side, with late points from impact substitutes Shane Walsh, Tomo Culhane and Paul Kelly helping the Tribesmen to victory.
Mayo faded out of contention in the closing stages and only managed a single point in the last 20 minutes — a free from impressive substitute Ryan O’Donoghue in the 69th minute.
In front of 300 spectators, Galway led for most of an uneventful match and they were in front at half-time by 0-10 to 0-07.
James Horan’s side had started brightly with early scores from the impressive duo of Fergal Boland and debutant Sam Callinan, but Galway quickly took the initiative back and led by 0-05 to 0-03 at the first water break.
Wandering full-forward Damien Comer (0-02) and Johnny Heaney kicked the pick of their scores as Galway defended deep and in numbers to frustrate Mayo’s inexperienced attack.
The second quarter was a similar story, with Mayo’s only score from play arriving from Frank Irwin while Fionan Duffy converted three frees.
The star of the show in the Tribes attack in the second quarter was the veteran Paul Conroy, who shot three superb points, including a brilliant effort from a sideline ball on the left wing. Matthew Tierney also converted a '45 with aplomb in the perfect indoor conditions.
Paul Kelly volleys over a point during tonight's FBD Connacht League semi-final in Bekan where Galway defeated Mayo 0-17 to 0-13 https://t.co/2xcnp8bDFY #RTEgaa pic.twitter.com/LCPgNQPXbq— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) January 7, 2022
Mayo introduced All-Star forward Ryan O’Donoghue at the break and he made an instant impact, shooting three quickfire points, two from frees, to close the gap to the bare minimum.
Galway also only led by 0-13 to 0-12 at the second water break as Mayo upped the ante, but Padraic Joyce sprung the likes of Kieran Molloy, Paul Kelly, Culhane and Shane Walsh from the bench, and they all helped to turn the tide.
The winners dominated the last quarter as Mayo tired and excellent points from Culhane and Kelly, in particular, saw Galway book their place in the Connacht League decider against Sligo or Roscommon next weekend.
Galway: C Flaherty; J Glynn, S Fitzgerald, L Silke; J Heaney (0-2), D McHugh, C McDaid; N Daly, M Tierney (0-3, ‘45); C McWalter, P Conroy (0-3, 1s/l), F Ó Laoi; R Finnerty (0-3, 3fs), D Comer (0-2), D Conneely (0-1, 1f).
Subs: J McLoughlin for Daly (HT); T Gill for McDaid (HT); T Culhane (0-1) for Conneely (HT); P Kelly (0-1) for Finnerty (47); K Molloy for Glynn (inj, 50); S Walsh (0-1, 1f) for Comer (50); J McGrath for Silke (57); L Costello for Tierney (60).
Mayo: R Byrne; D McHugh, P O’Hora, S Callinan (0-1); P Durcan, M Plunkett, E McLaughlin; C O’Shea, J Flynn; F Boland (0-2), D O’Connor, F Irwin (0-1); J Healy, F Duffy (0-4, 4fs), J Mahon.
Subs: R O’Donoghue (0-5, 4fs) for Mahon (HT); P Heneghan for Healy (HT); R Brickenden for Plunkett (HT); C Loftus for Duffy (47); S Coen for Durcan (51); R Keane for McHugh (51); M Ruane for Irwin (51); D Coen for Callinan (68).
Referee: J Gilmartin (Sligo)
Meanwhile, In the first round of the 2022 Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup, Donegal made home advantage count against Down, while Monaghan and Derry played out a draw in Owenbeg.
Donegal held a two-point lead 0-09 to 1-04 at half-time, with the margin between the sides the same at the full-time whistle.
Andrew Gilmore and Owen Murdock goaled for the Mourne men in either half, but Tony McClenaghan's goal in the 45th minute pushed the Donegal advantage to four points as the home side claimed a 1-13 to 2-08 victory in Ballybofey.
Not even substantial injury time at Owenbeg could separate Monaghan and Derry.
In a tit-for-tat encounter, the sides were level on five occasions before the Oak Leaf County claimed the final two scores of the half to lead 0-07 to 0-05.
The margin remained the same at the second water break, but the Farney men registered four of the final six scores through Micheál Bannigan (0-2, 0-1f), Jack McCarron (free) and Kieran Duffy.
Derry snatched the draw through Ethan Doherty in the seventh minute of injury time as it finished 0-11 apiece.