Connacht JFC final: Cunningham early strike key as Tribes keep Mayo at bay
Galway 1-11 Mayo1-10
Trailing by six points at one stage in the first-half, Mayo battled back in this decider at MacHale Park, Castlebar, yesterday, but it all proved to be in vain as Galway clung on for a deserved win.
The Tribesmen got off to a flying start and had 1-2 on the board before Mayo finally arrived in the game.
Full-forward Padraic Cunningham found the net after just two minutes, while a brace of points from Gary Kelly had them five in front.
Mayo's top man Ronan Carolan, who finished with six pointed frees, kept his side in the game, but they still looked in difficulty and trailed 1-7 to 0-4 at the break.
The home side still looked in trouble when they trailed by five points with 15 minutes remaining, but a speculative ball into the danger zone from substitute James Dowd was deflected to the net by Sean Walsh to make it 1-9 to 1-7 in favour of the visitors.
Mayo managed to reduce the deficit to a single point with just minutes remaining, but the visitors refused to panic and held their nerve to claim the title in the end.
Scorers - Galway: P Cunningham 1-2; G Kelly (2fs), J Ryan (1f) 0-3 each: S Gaffney 0-2 (fs); A McDonagh 0-1.
Mayo: R Carolan 0-6 (fs); S Walsh 1-0; C Doohan 0-2; J Dowd and B Carr 0-1 each.
Galway - M Breathnach; E O'Sullivan, D Garvey, A Ward; J O'Brien, S O Currin, P O'Donnell; C Brennan, C Brady; A McDonagh,A Ó Laoi, P Eoin O Curraoin, J Ryan, P Cunningham, G Kelly. Subs: S Gaffney for G Kelly (bc, 28), A Ó hiarnain for J O'Brien (47), M Goldrick for C Brady (50), T Gleeson for A McDonough (54).
Mayo - C McGlynn, O McGrath, J O'Dowd, B Reynolds, C Moylan, D Lyon, C Burke, B Carr, S Walsh, J Kelly, R Carolan, P Gallagher, C Doohan, TJ Byrne, D Keavney. Subs: J Dowd for Gallagher (37), T Fahey for Kevaney (45), J Forkan for Boylan (bc, 50), E Doran for J O'Dowd (bc, 55).
Ref - P McTiernan (Roscommon)