Mayo 2-18 Galway 3-12

The latest meeting of these western rivals certainly didn't disappoint as Mayo withstood a late Galway rally to qualify for their first Connacht FBD Connacht Cup final since 2012.

A crowd of over 1,000 people were on the edge of their seats in the closing stages at the University of Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome on Saturday evening as Kevin McStay’s experimental side booked their place in the decider against Roscommon.

Mayo had looked set for a comfortable win over Padraic Joyce’s largely second-string selection when they led by 10 points at half-time, but the Tribesmen came roaring back in the second half and pushed the winners all the way to the line.

However, Mayo held their nerve in the closing stages and a late point from Bob Tuohy was enough to seal a deserved victory, and whet the appetite for the next local derby between the teams in two weeks' time.

The tone was set for an entertaining encounter inside the early stages and the sides were level at 0-4 apiece after 18 minutes.

Then Mayo took complete control and outscored a shell-shocked Galway outfit by 2-5 to 0-1 in the second quarter.

Galway pair Matthew Barrett and Matthew Tierney of Galway compete in the air against Mayo's Jordan Flynn and Matthew Ruane

Goals from Paul Towey and James Carr in the 23rd and 35th minutes respectively came after flowing moves, while Aidan Orme shot three points as Mayo attacked the holders from all angles.

Galway’s only response during that blitz was a pointed free from Barry McHugh in the 32nd minute, leaving Mayo ahead by 2-9 to 0-5 at the change of ends.

The Galway manager made four changes at the break, but it was the decision to introduce Tomo Culhane that made the biggest impact.

The Salthill-Knocknarrra attacker shot 1-2 in the third quarter as Galway came roaring back into contention with white flags from John Maher and Cathal Sweeney shaving the deficit back to five points after three-quarters of an hour.

That was still the state of play 10 minutes later, but Mayo then showed their intent again with four unanswered points from Bryan Walsh, Aidan Orme, Paul Towey and James Carr doubling their advantage again.

Galway were eight points down with 57 minutes on the clock, when the tireless Matthew Tierney crashed in a goal that his efforts deserved to throw last year’s All-Ireland finalists a lifeline.

Mayo's Jordan Flynn attempts to block down Galway substitute Damien Comer

The plot thickened when substitute Damien Comer pointed and Culhane pounced for his second goal on 67 minutes to set up a grandstand finish.

Mayo’s lead had now been whittled down to just two points with the Tribesmen finishing fast, but a typical fast-break led to a crucial score from Tuohy to settle the argument once and for all.

So Mayo will now try and win this competition for the first time in 11 years when they take on Roscommon in the Air Dome next Friday evening.

Eight days later they will face Galway again in the opening round of the Allianz Football League in Castlebar when the stakes will be much higher.

Elsewhere, in the McGrath Cup, Tipperary struck with an injury-time goal on their way to claiming a draw with Limerick in Templetouhy.

The Premier County's second goal of the game meant the game finished 2-10 to 1-13, with the Treaty men advancing to Wednesday's final on scoring difference. Who they face will be determined after Cork travel to Clare tomorrow afternoon.

Mayo: R Byrne; J Coyne, R Brickenden, S Callinan; F Kelly, S Coen, D McHugh; M Ruane (0-1), J Flynn; F McDonagh (0-1), B Tuohy (0-1), B Walsh (0-3); A Orme (0-5, 1f), J Carr (1-2), P Towey (1-4, 2fs).

Subs used: G Durcan for Carr; C Dempsey for Walsh; K Callaghan (0-1) for McDonagh; C Dunleavy for Kelly.

Galway: B Power; C Sweeney (0-1), S Fitzgerald, J Foley; D McHugh, B Mannion, D O’Flaherty; J Maher (0-1), M Barrett; D Canney, M Tierney (1-0), J Heaney (0-3); I Burke, R Finnerty (0-2), B McHugh (0-2,1f).

Subs used: E Kelly for Foley; P Kelly for Canney; E Murphy for B McHugh; T Culhane (2-2) for Barrett; J Kirrane for Sweeney; J McLoughlin for Maher; D Comer (0-1) for Fitzgerald; B Mannion for O’Flaherty; N Grainger for Heaney.

Referee: B Judge (Sligo)