Brady goal helps Tribes breeze past Kingdom in style
Galway 2-14 Kerry 2-10
Galway's preparations for this All-Ireland semi-final at Cusack Park included a full training session in midweek at the Ennis venue, where they paid particular attention to shooting into the breeze.
No surprise then that when they had the wind in the opening half on Saturday the scores flowed in an early blitz, which saw them lead by 1-7 to 0-1 after just 10 minutes.
Kerry, winners of the last three All-Ireland minor titles, and ill-prepared for such an onslaught after a stroll through Munster, were simply unable to cope with it.
The fact that they stayed in the game to cut the gap to a goal going into the final quarter had more to do with Galway not finishing them off in the opening half, with the Tribesmen fluffing three gilt-edged goal chances in addition to shooting eight wides to none when they had the wind.
There is no doubt Galway football is on the rise and a week after securing the Division 2 league crown and promotion, Kevin Walsh's team will head into the defence of their Connacht SFC title with a host of promising U-21s ready to step up.
Some already have and Michael Daly again showed his class on Saturday, on a day when Galway's traditional style of football was manifested by the dominance of Peter Cooke and Cein D'Arcy in midfield, the brilliance of Cillian McDaid at wing-back and a forward unit which would not have been flattered had they finished with double what they achieved.
Kerry, in contrast, never got moving and three points from play accurately sums up their difficulties on a day when only Killian Spillane, Tom's son, showed anything close to what's required at this level.
Galway manager Gerry Fahy said he knew from the start of the year that this group was special and he now wants them to finish the job against Dublin on Saturday week, in what will be the last ever U-21 All-Ireland final.
"Right from the day that we met, you could sense from our lads that they were on a mission. They were going to give it everything they had and thankfully it worked out well for us," said Fahy.
"These lads hadn't done well at minor level, they would have been disappointed that things didn't go well for them. We were very determined to win a Connacht championship. We won that, we were hoping it wouldn't satisfy us and now we are in a final we are going to have a right good crack at it.
"We should give credit to our team as we have good technical footballers. That made the difference. We were battle-hardened. We were tested all the way, we pushed every day we went out. Maybe it was a factor at the end."
His side had a dream start, a string of passes sending Dessie Conneely through and he blasted to the top-left corner after just 21 seconds.
The points flowed from all angles and it was 1-7 to 0-1 with just 10 minutes gone. Three golden goal opportunities were not seized by Galway, though, and they had to be content with a 1-9 to 0-4 interval lead.
A contentious goal from Matthew O'Sullivan 21 seconds after the restart, and some points from Spillane and a second free from goalkeeper Shane Ryan, cut the gap to a goal going into the final quarter.
However, then midfielder Barry O'Sullivan was sent off when he picked up a second yellow card and Galway took control again and pulled away, with impressive sub Colin Brady wrapping it up with their second goal.
Kerry manager Jack O'Connor, after initially declining to speak to the media, admitted in a brief interview that the better team won, but he was unhappy with Kildare referee Brendan Cawley.
"I just thought on the day that we didn't get a whole pile of breaks from that man. Galway seemed to get frees a bit easier than we got frees," he said.
"There was a case in point when Jordan Kiely appeared to be fouled on the Galway '21' and play went on and Galway wound up getting a handy enough free down the other side.
"Look, we are only splitting hairs there. I think Galway were better, but certainly on the day we didn't seem to get a lot of breaks," added a disgruntled O'Connor.
Scorers - Galway: P Cooke 0-5 (3f), C Brady 1-0, D Conneely 1-0, S Kelly, M Daly 0-2 each, K Molloy, C McDaid, C D'Arcy, R Finnerty, P Mannion 0-1 each.
Kerry: K Spillane 0-4 (3f), M O'Sullivan 1-0, J Kiely 1-0, S Ryan (2f), M Flaherty 0-2 each, C Geaney (1f), S O'Shea (1f) 0-1 each.
Galway: R O Beolain; L Kelly, S O Ceallaigh, R Greene; K Molloy, D McHugh, C McDaid; P Cooke, C D'Arcy; S Kelly, M Daly, P Mannion; R Finnerty, E Finnerty, D Conneely. Subs: C Brady for Mannion (41), M Boyle for R Finnerty (54), C Brennan for D'Arcy (56), E Lee for McDaid (60).
Kerry: S Ryan; Tom Leo O'Sullivan, J Foley, Tom O'Sullivan; B O Beaglaoich, B O Seanachain, G White; A Barry, B O'Sullivan; B Barrett, S O'Shea, M Flaherty; K Spillane, M O'Sullivan, C Geaney. Subs: M Burns for Barrett (29), R O Se for O Seanachain (41), J Kiely for S O'Shea (45), J Morgan for White (55), D O'Brien for O Beaglaoich (60).
Ref - B Cawley (Kildare)