Sunday 26 January 2020

Galway edge Mayo on penalties to book FBD final place as Padraic Joyce makes winning start

Galway 1-17 Mayo 1-17 (Galway win 3-2 on penalties)

John Daly of Galway in action against Kevin McLoughlin of Mayo during the FBD League Semi-Final match between Mayo and Galway at Elverys MacHale Park in Castlebar, Mayo. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
John Daly of Galway in action against Kevin McLoughlin of Mayo during the FBD League Semi-Final match between Mayo and Galway at Elverys MacHale Park in Castlebar, Mayo. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

New Galway manager Padraic Joyce got his reign off to a successful start - but only after penalty kicks in front of more than 7000 spectators in Elverys MacHale Park.

In the end, Brian Walsh’s effort for Mayo cannoned back off the crossbar to hand Joyce and Galway a spot in next weekend’s FBD final.

A point from Liam Costello, in the 49th minute of the second half, sent the tie to spot kicks. The game had been delayed for well over ten minutes due to an injury to Galway’s Fiontain O Curraoin, who left the field on a stretcher. 

Mayo had led by six points at one stage in the second half. Cillian McDaid’s black card saw them take control and with the former AFL man off the pitch, the home side outscored their visitors by 1-2 to 0-1, with Kevin McLoughlin delivering the goal with a brilliantly improvised finish.

However, the excellent Adrian Varley grabbed a goal back and Galway had just enough time to land an equaliser through debutant sub Liam Costello to force penalties. Successful spot kicks from Shane Walsh, Damien Comer and Tom Flynn were enough to see them through.  

There was just a point to chose between the teams at half time after a first period that saw James Horan’s side play with the aid of the breeze. Galway were playing against the breeze but made better start to race into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after just eight minutes. Predictably, newly appointed captain Walsh was at the centre of most good things they did, kicking three points while the returning Paul Conroy clipped over a score.

Mayo eventually got to grips with the game and enjoyed a purple patch midway through the first half. Four points in a row put them 0-7 to 0-5 up on 20 minutes with the last of those scores coming from Tom Parsons. The Charlestown midfielder was making his first start since his horrific knee injury sustained against the same opposition in the summer of 2018.

Galway lost Johnny Heaney through injury but sparked back into life to level the game up at 0-8 each. Things might have got even better for the visitors but Eamonn Brannigan was unlucky to see his attempt on goal hit the post from a tight angle. Mayo’s Conor Loftus converted the last score of the half from a free to give the home side a 0-9 to 0-8 at the interval.

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Galway hit the first to scores of the second half to take the lead but that was followed by a serious injury O Curraoin.

Mayo looked to have done enough when they went six clear on just as the ticked clock past the 70-minute mark. However, Galway recovered to force penalties and from there booked their spot in next weekend’s decider against Roscommon.

SCORERS - Mayo: B Reape 0-5, K McLoughlin 1-2, B Walsh 0-3, C Loftus (2f), J Flynn, F Boland 0-2 each, T Parsons 0-1.

Galway: S Walsh 0-9 (6f), A Varley 1-3, M Daly 0-2, M Boyle, P Conroy, L Costello 0-1.

Mayo: R Hennelly; J Stretton, J McCormack, B Harrison; P O’Hora, M Plunkett, P Durcan; T Parsons, M Murray; B Walsh, C Loftus, J Flynn; K McLoughlin, B Reape, D O’Connor SUBS: F Boland for Loftus (57), C Boyle for Stratton (60), G Boylan for O’Connor (70+2), L Irwin for Reape (70+9), D Kenny for J McCormack (70+12).

Galway: C Gleeson; C Murray, G O’Donnell, J Heaney; E Brannigan, J Daly, C McDaid; P Conroy F O Curraoin; P Kelly, T Flynn, M Boyle; M Daly, A Varley, S Walsh SUBS: J Duane for Heaney (22 inj), M Barrett for O Curraoin (39), L Costello for Kelly (55), D Comer for M Daly (70), S Kelly for Brannigan (70+5)

Black card: C McDaid 53-63

Ref: P Guckian (Leitrim)

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