Liam Mellows 3-12 Gort 1-15
City side Liam Mellows captured their first Galway SHC crown since 1970 when they struck for goals at crucial stages to secure a deserved victory.
The win moves Mellows to third in the Galway roll of honour with their eighth victory and they were well worth their success over favourites Gort.
Liam Mellows, who will now meet Leinster champs Cuala, made the most of the goal chances they created in the opening half and deservedly by 2-07 to 0-08 at the interval and they dealt with everything Gort threw at them after that.
The great conditions — no wind and dry surface — at Pearse Stadium made for a perfect backdrop and the sides served up a thrilling contest.
Mellows, backed by a big vocal following from the city, were certainly not over-awed by the occasion against an experienced Gort side who were contesting their fifth decider in a decade.
The tone was set from the start and they were level three times in the opening ten minutes.
Adrian Morrissey landed a couple of frees for Liam Mellows, with Aidan Helebert nabbing two from play for last year’s runners-up, while Jason Grealish of Gort and Tadhg Haran — with the first of a couple of excellent sidelines — also exchanged points.
Albert Mullins and Helebert struck good points to lead by 0-05 to 0-03 but Haran responded for the city side to leave just a point between them at the end of the opening quarter.
Helebert, having hit three from play, then converted his first free for Gort but then they were rocked after 19 minutes when former Galway player Aonghus Callanan worked his way in from the left to crack a superb shot to the net from a tight angle.
Callanan quickly added a point to lead by 1-05 to 0-06 but Gort hit back with two frees in quick succession from Helebert to tie the match.
Mellows finished the half strongly with a pointed free from Morrissey and a good effort from Ronan Elwood before Haran raced on to a ball and burst through to blast to the net to lead by 2-07 to 0-08 at the interval.
Gort hit back after the restart with Helebert hitting four frees and Greg Lally landing one from distance in addition to an effort from play from Keelan Higgins, with Morrissey responding with a brace for Mellows to leave them leading by 2-09 to 0-14 going into the final quarter.
Morrissey brought his haul to six points with another free before Mellows struck a huge blow when Conor Kavanagh took a delivery from Haran and fired home their third goal, with another free from Morrissey tacked on another free to lead by 3-11 to 0-14 with ten minutes remaining.
Gort’s hopes suffered another big set-back when wing-forward Michael Mullins got a red card for a late challenge on forward Galway defender David Collins.
Mellows had to endure a nervous finish when Richie Cummins got a goal in injury-time but the city side held out for a memorable victory.
Liam Mellows: K Walsh; C Reilly, M Conneely, S Morrissey; M Hughes, D Collins, S Barrett; J Hastings, K Lee; C Hynes, T Haran (1-02, 0-02 sl), R Elwood (0-01); A Morrissey (0-08, 0-07f), A Callanan (1-01), C Kavanagh (1-00).
Subs used: J Forde for C Hynes (57), D Fahy for Callanan (60), C Elwood for Kavanagh (62).
Gort: Gavin Lally; M McMahon, A Coen, M Cummins; P Lally, Greg Lally (0-02, 0-02f), Jack Grealish; S Og Linnane, A Harte; M Mullins, A Helebert (0-10, 0-07f), K Higgins (0-01); A Mullins (0-01), R Cummins (1-00), Jason Grealish (0-01).
Subs used: N Forde for M Cummins (4), M Cummins for N Forde (5), J Commins for A Mullins (49), N Forde for M Cummins (53), P Killilea for Jason Grealish (55), K Killilea for Helebert (60).
Referee: Christy Browne.