Moycullen 2-12 Mountbellew/Moylough 1-11
Dessie Conneely kicked 1-09 as Maigh Cuilinn won their first Galway senior football title on a 2-12 to 1-11 scoreline following a pulsating county final at Pearse Stadium.
Conneely cracked a brilliant goal shortly after the restart, but midway though the second half a penalty from Eoin Finnerty had pulled Mountbellew/Moylough level, but a brilliant second goal from Conor Bohan six minutes later gave Maigh Cuilinn the decisive score to kick on to the win.
There was a very strong wind to deal with for both sides throughout at Pearse Stadium, and after winning the toss Maigh Cuilinn captain Dessie Conneely decided to play with it at their backs from the start.
It only took Maigh Cuilinn 30 seconds to kick the first point when Conneely swapped passes with Neil Walsh to score, but following a foul on the industrious Paul Donnellan, Barry McHugh kicked the levelling free at the other end.
Mastering the condition was very difficult for both sides, but Mountbellew/Moylough would have been delighted with their play in that opening half. Into the teeth of the wind they showed great patience around the half forward line to wait of the opening inside, with Michael Daly and Matthew Barrett in particular taking plenty of time to make the correct decisions.
In the Maigh Cuilinn attack the aim was to get the ball in quickly, but unlike their semi final win over Tuam Stars, Walsh was not able to claim any offensive marks, but in Conneely he had the game's brightest forward. His points in the fourth and seventh minutes put them ahead, but Mountbellew/Moylough took over ahead of the water break.
Three in a row from Barry McHugh and an Eoin Finnerty brace – the first from a mark – had them 0-5 to 0-3 ahead and while a Conneely 45 at the other end halved that advantage Corofin's conquerors continued to impress.
There was a couple of poor wides either side of the water break with Daly and Paul Donnellan off target, but Colin Ryan landed an excellent score after 21 minutes to restore their two-point cushion.
Approaching the break Maigh Cuilinn needed a couple of scores to recover their composure, and after Conneely slotted his sixth point of the half, Antrim native Owen Gallagher burst through and scored the levelling point just before the interval, 0-7 apiece.
Mountbellew/Moylough were back in front seconds after the restart when McHugh fisted over a point when he got in behind, but two minutes later at the opposite end Maigh Cuilinn struck for the lead.
Aidan Claffey broke through on the right and turned down a shot for goal, but when the ball broke for Conneely his powerful shot crashed into the roof of the net for a 1–7 to 0-8 lead.
Yet another Conneely point put Maigh Cuilinn a goal clear in the 37th minute, a brilliant break down the other end by Gary Sweeney resulted in a penalty, which Finnerty dispatched to level the scores again.
The lead was Mountbellew/Moylough’s in the 42nd minute when McHugh kicked a free, but after Garth Bradshaw drew the teams level with a good point, Maigh Cuilinn bagged their second goal when Conor Bohan’s shot found the net via the post.
With Gallagher and James McLaughlin growing into the game, Maigh Cuilinn looked favourites, but two quick scores from Daly and McHugh closed the gap to two points, only for Conneely to kick a couple of late frees to seal the win.
Moycullen: Seamus Friel; Sean Kelly, David Wynne, Neil Mulcahy; Gareth Bradshaw (0-01), Aidan Claffey, Greg Bohan; Thomas Clarke, Mark Lydon; Paul Kelly, Conor Bohan (1-00), James McLoughlin; Owen Gallagher (0-02), Neil Walsh, Dessie Conneely (c) (1-09, 0-05f, 0-01’45).
Subs: Eoghan Kelly for G Bohan (43 mins), Daniel Cox for Walsh (47 mins).
Mountbellew/Moylough: Damien Boyle; Gary Sweeney, James Foley, Mark Mannion; Shane Moran, Colin Murray, Colin Ryan (0-01); Michael Daly (0-01), Matthew Barrett; Paul Donnellan (0-01), Gerard Doneoghue, Leo Donnellan; Eoin Finnerty (jc) (1-02, 1-00pen, 0-01m), Patrick Kelly, Barry McHugh (0-06, 0-04f).
Subs: Seán Miland for L Donnellan (47 mins), Billy Mannion for Donoghue (60).
Referee: Austin O’Connell.