Fahy delight as Galway knock out champions

Galway 2-13 Mayo 1-10

In the second-half Galway opened up and took control and goals from Dessie Conneely and impressive substitute Eoin Finnerty sealed a deserved win in front of a huge crowd at Tuam Stadium. Stock photo: Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Eirgrid Connacht u-21 FC semi-final

Galway manager Gerry Fahy praised the manner in which his side sent reigning All-Ireland champions Mayo crashing out of the title race in an exciting Connacht semi-final.

Mayo were always chasing the game against a fired-up Galway side, and despite Brian Reape's goal before the break they still trailed 0-10 to 1-5 at half-time.

In the second-half Galway opened up and took control and goals from Dessie Conneely and impressive substitute Eoin Finnerty sealed a deserved win in front of a huge crowd at Tuam Stadium.

In perfect conditions for football both sides gave their all, but the game threatened to boil over at times and James Kelly was sent off for Mayo late on when he collided with Dylan McHugh.

That didn't affect the scoreline, as Galway were already well clear in injury-time to set up a decider against Sligo next weekend.

"The biggest thing is that when they were minors they didn't win, but now they have won two U-21 games," said Fahy.

"I'm delighted for them because they have been unfortunate and at times things haven't gone their way."

Galway claimed a narrow 4-10 to 2-12 victory over Leitrim despite being 4-8 to 0-2 ahead at half-time in Tuam Stadium in the quarter-final.

The 18-time winners, who last claimed the title in 2013, were forced to hold on in that game when they should have eased through the second-half.

But that shock helped them against Mayo and they never looked like losing momentum, even after Reape rattled the net just before half-time.

Mayo, who won their 24th Connacht title last year, struggled to find scorers outside of Reape, who hit 1-6 on the day.

Galway, in contrast, had eight different scorers, including a goal from Conneely, six minutes after half-time, and another from Finnerty, one minute after he was brought on as a substitute for Colin Brady.

When the second goal went in Galway were already planning for their Connacht final date with Sligo at Markievicz Park next Saturday evening (6pm).

A huge crowd is expected for that match, when Sligo will finally hope to win their first ever Connacht U-21 crown, the only county in the province still without a title in the grade.

However, Fahy believes that Galway are coming good just at the right time in their quest for glory.

"We had a very good first-half. I was very happy with the lads and we were playing very well up until half-time," said Fahy.

"They had a very good work ethic in the second-half and, overall, even the substitutes made a big impact for us and I am pleased from that point of view.

"Mayo are a serious footballing county and any time you beat them in Tuam it's a great win.

"There was no quarter given out there today, it was a real championship match, and we will go on and look forward to the next game against Sligo now."

Scorers - Galway: P Mannion 0-4, D Conneely 1-0, E Finnerty 1-0, P Cooke 0-3 (2f, 1'45), R Finnerty 0-2 (1f), M Daly 0-2, C McDaid 0-1, C Brady 0-1.

Mayo: B Reape 1-6 (5f), M Flanagan 0-1 (1'45), M Murray 0-1, J Lyons 0-1, M Ruane 0-1.

Galway: R O Beolain; L Kelly, S A O Ceallaigh, R Greene; K Molloy, D McHugh, C McDaid; P Cooke, M Daly; A O Laoi, C Brennan, C Brady; R Finnerty, P Mannion, D Conneely. Subs: S Kelly for McDaid (40), E Finnerty for Brady (48), C D'Arcy for C Brennan (52), E Lee for McHugh (62), C Mannion for O Laoi (66), M Boyle for Conneely (67).

Mayo: M Flanagan; M Park, S Conlon, S Brennan; S Akram, E O'Donoghue, D Cannon; M Ruane, M Murray; F McDonagh, R O'Donoghue, J Kelly; J Carr, B Reape, J Lyons. Subs: J McCormack for McDonagh (48), J Forkan for E O'Donoghue (50), TJ Byrne for R O'Donoghue (55), G Canavan for Cannon (58), J Flynn for Murray (66).

Ref - J Gilmartin (Sligo).