Mayo win 7-6 on penalties

Conor Flynn scored the winning penalty and Mayo shocked All-Ireland champions Galway to earn their spot in the Connacht Under-20 final after a penalty shootout.

Galway took a 0-03 to 0-02 lead into half-time after a poor first half where both sides struggled to find their groove at Tuam Stadium.

They shared 15 wides between them and it took Matthew Cooley's last ditch point to separate the teams at half-time.

Mayo fought back in the second half but it was 0-08 to 0-08 at the end of the second half.

And after Nathan Grainger’s goal Galway were 1-8 to 0-10 in front at half-time in extra-time only for the game to go to penalties.

Warren Seoige and Paddy Heneghan both missed with their first attempts but Tony Gill's shot was crucially saved by Ronan Connolly and Flynn scored the winner with Mayo’s eighth attempt.

Eleven of Galway’s starting 15 played a part in their thrilling All-Ireland final victory over Dublin at Croke Park last December.

And it was they who scored first, Ryan Monahan provided the assist and midfielder Conall Gallagher landed the opening score in the second minute.

Tomo Culhane was the dangerman for Galway and he was swarmed by the Mayo defence when he got his first touch.

Mayo finally scored in the seventh minute, Ultan O’Reilly found his way through a tight Galway rearguard and blasted the ball over the bar when he could have finished under it.

Culhane opened his account from a free but despite the perfect conditions for football both sides struggled to find their range early on.

Galway held a 0-02 to 0-01 lead at the first water-break.

The sides continued to cancel each other out in the second quarter but Jack Mahon ended Mayo’s 16-minute wait for a score when he popped over a point from a free.

Galway centre-back Tony Gill could have scored a goal moments later.

Alan Greene did the hard work and set him up only for goalkeeper Ronan Connolly to come out and smother the shot.

The visitors missed a glorious goal-scoring opportunity at the death when Owen McHale broke through but sent his shot to the left and wide.

Yet there was still time for Cooley to score a crucial point and give Galway a narrow half-time advantage.

Mahon gave Mayo the ideal start to the second half when he scored from a free but a fabulous Ryan Monahan effort pushed Galway back in front.

Gill doubled the host’s lead but three points in a row from Jack Carney, Mahon and Frank Irwin put Mayo in front for the first time, ten minutes into the second half.

Conor Flaherty saved well from Ryan Baynes to keep Galway in touch and then Culhane scored a stunning free from the right.

It was 0-06 to 0-06 at the final water-break and Mayo led briefly again before the end through a Connell Dempsey free only for Grainger to reel them back in.

It finished level again at end of the hour but it took less than a minute for the game to catch fire.

Culhane was fouled by full-back Ruairi Keane and Grainger sent his penalty past Ronan Connolly.

Dempsey hit back with a free and Dylan Thornton closed the gap even further, Mahon levelled it after half-time in extra-time and it went to penalties.

Mayo will play Sligo or Roscommon in the final on Wednesday week.

Mayo: Ronan Connolly; Sean Holmes, Ruairi Keane, Eoin Gilrane; Conor Flynn, Ryan Baynes, Aidan Cosgrove; Conor Dunleavy, Jack Carney (0-01); Ethan Henry, Owen McHale, Connell Dempsey (0-02, 0-02f); Ultan O’Reilly (0-01), Frank Irwin (0-01), Jack Mahon (0-04, 0-03f).

Subs: Dylan Thornton (0-01) for Ultan O’Reilly (38), Paddy Heneghan (0-01) for Owen McHale (47), Conor Reid for Eoin Gilraine (54), Cian McHale for Jack Carney (81).

Galway: Conor Flaherty; Jonathan McGrath, Eoghan Geraghty, Ruairi King; Cian Hernon, Tony Gill (0-01), Dylan Brady; Conor Raftery, Conall Gallagher (0-01); Alan Greene, Warren Seoige, Ryan Monahan (0-01); Daniel Cox, Tomo Culhane (0-03, 0-03f), Matthew Cooley (0-01).

Subs: Diarmuid Kilcommins for Alan Greene (47), James McLaughlin for Gallagher (47), Nathan Grainger (1-01, 1-00 pen) for Cooley (58), Alan Morris for Brady (64), Conall Gallagher for Raftery (70), Alan Greene for Morris (75), Oisin Gormley for Monahan (79).

Referee: John Gilmartin (Sligo).