Galway have three sent off but still overcome Mayo in dramatic Castlebar clash
Galway 1-10 Mayo 1-9
Galway had three players sent off in the second half but Patrick Sweeney’s goal was the difference as they saw off an experimental Mayo side at MacHale Park in Castlebar.
Galway were too strong, and although they trailed 0-8 to 0-6 at half-time and had Damien Comer, Sean Mulkerrin and Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh sent off, they held on.
Mayo had the breeze in the first half and the wind and rain made for dreadful conditions, but both teams played well in a physical game.
In this re-fixed clash, Mayo manager Stephen Rochford was throwing his eye over a number of new players ahead of the league, including debutant Sharoize Akram, the Pakistan-born defender who was part of the 2016 U-21 All-Ireland-winning team.
However, it was one of his experienced faces, Kevin McLoughlin, who opened Mayo’s account in the third minute.
Paul Conroy then burst forward for a Tribe score and then Eamonn Brannigan and Barry McHugh added to that, and Galway led by 0-4 to 0-3 in the 15th minute.
But Galway would not score again until first half injury-time, while Mayo reeled off four points in-a-row – Brian Reape hit three and McLoughlin added the other.
Conroy’s second point was a reprieve for the visitors and McHugh scored again before the break to bring Galway within two at half-time.
Galway had the breeze in the second half and the game ignited when Jason Gibbons, Brannigan and Conroy got yellow cards after a scuffle in the 37th minute.
Mayo scored their goal through Peter Naughton in the 40th minute after Reape dispossessed Johnny Duane, but they didn’t score again until it was too late.
Galway emptied their bench and Comer was introduced in the 48th minute, with his point giving them a 1-10 to 1-8 lead.
That came after Sweeney saw his deflected shot fly past David Clarke and into the Mayo net in the 50th minute.
Comer then got a straight red in the 56th minute for an alleged strike on Adam Gallagher. And Galway were dealt a further blow when Mulkerrin was sent off for a black card in the 58th minute.
He had already got yellow and Ó Ceallaigh suffered the same fate in the 74th minute, but at that stage Mayo were two behind and Reape’s late free made no difference.
Scorers – Galway: P Sweeney 1-1, B McHugh 0-3 (0-3f), P Conroy 0-2, P Cunningham 0-2, E Brannigan 0-1, D Comer 0-1. Mayo: B Reape 0-4 (0-3f), P Naughton 1-0, K McLoughlin 0-3 (0-1f), S Nally 0-2.
Galway – R Lavelle; E Kerin, S A Ó Ceallaigh, S Mulkerrin; C Sweeney, J Duane, S Kelly; P Conroy, C Duggan; E Brannigan, P Cooke, S Walsh; B McHugh, P Sweeney, P Cunningham. Subs: D Comer for C Duggan (48), C D’Arcy for Cunningham (49), G Bradshaw for Brannigan (61), J Heaney (Killannin) for Cooke (63), F Burke for McHugh (69), D Wynne for P Sweeney (71).
Mayo – D Clarke; S Duffy, K Keane, J Oates; M Plunkett, M Hall, S Akram; M Ruane, J Gibbons; A Gallagher, K McLoughlin, S Nally; R O’Donoghue, B Reape, P Naughton. Subs: D O’Connor for Nally (47), G McDonagh for Ruane (54), J Stretton for Akram (60), F McDonagh for Gallagher (70).
Ref – Paddy Neilan (Roscommon).