James Carr wonder goal proves decisive as Mayo book place in Super 8s with win over Galway
Mayo 2-13 Galway 1-13
Mayo's football Odyssey continues. Last night they marched into their ninth All-Ireland quarter-final in 10 seasons.
Though badly hit by injuries, they finally got the better of arch rivals Galway to knock them out of the race for Sam for the first time since 1999.
Two early goals from James Carr gave Mayo a cushion which they never surrendered although Galway twice reduced the deficit to three points on two in the second half.
But Galway who finished the game on 12 men on the field were struggling, though a goal direct from a 13 metre free from Shane Walsh left the Mayo fans clinging to the edge of their seats again.
But the key moment in the second half came when David Clarke brilliant saved Liam Silke's penalty and although the Tribesmen introduced Damien Comer at half time he was unable to change the course of the game.
But the challenges now become seven steeper for James Horan depleted squad with a visit to Killarney for a repeat of the League final against Kerry next on the agenda. But for the moment at least they can celebrate their first championship win over Galway since 2015 and their first appearance in the Super 8s.
During his previous reign as Mayo boss James Horan had masterminded three famous win over the Tribesmen on the spin. But for Galway boss Kevin Walsh this loss could jeopardize his future.
Having reached the All-Ireland semi-final last year Galway looked on the cusp of a big breakthrough but ever since being over-run by Tyrone in the second half of their final league tie they have struggled with their form. Granted they too had injury problems but the poverty of their effort this summer has been very puzzling.
Galway were seeking their fourth win on the spin whereas James Horan had never lost to the Tribesmen in championship football during his first stint as Mayo boss.
But one statistic summed up how their rivalry had turned on its head since 2016. In the three previous championship clashes between the sides Mayo scored 8-40; in the three subsequent clashes in 2016, 2017 and last year Mayo only managed 1-35
Mayo made a sensational start with James Carr – who made impressed in the league final - hitting two goals in the opening nine minutes. Granted the first goal after six minutes was primarily due to an error from goalkeeper Bernard Power who spilled a shot meant for a point from Darren Coen. Carr was quickest to react driving the ball to the net to put his side 1-2 to 0-0 ahead.
Galway, who began with just two forwards playing up front, pulled two points back via Peter Cooke before Carr struck for a magnificent goal. He received a pass from Paddy Durcan on the right hand touchline and weaved his way infield as the Galway defence retreated before smashing the ball to the roof of the net.
Colm Boyle was excelling in the role of sweeper and Galway unused to chasing games were struggling to make an impact. Mind you, Mayo weren't overly creative themselves from open play but they were forcing the Galway defence to foul and Cillian O'Connor was knocking over the frees.
Galway made their first defensive change after only 27 minutes when Sean Andy O'Ceallaigh replaced Eoghan Kerin but gradually the Tribesmen began to made an impact with Peter Cooke, who was being marked by Aidan O'Shea, making a telling impact kicking four first half points.
They kicked three points on the spin but Darren Coen hit a crucial Mayo point in injury time to leave Mayo 2-7 to 0-7 ahead at the break with Shane Walsh – who was effectively held by Patrick Durcan – hitting an injury time free off the upright.
Galway introduced Damien Comer at the start of the second half – he was making his first appearance since last year's All-Ireland semi-final having undergone ankle surgery earlier in the year.
But it was early advantage to Comer's marker Brendan Harrison who dispossessed him in the 40th minute in their first direct clash. By the 42nd minute Mayo were eight points clear for the second half with points from Darren Coen and midfielder Stephen Coen after Galway were easily turned over by the Mayo full-backline.
But after Donal Vaughan missed a goal chance Galway hit a purple patch. Michael Daly hit a point; then Brendan Harrison foot blocked Ian Burke in the square. David Clarke brilliant saved Liam Silke's penalty at the expense of a 45 which Walsh converted. Galway kicked the next two points to leave three between the sides.
On this occasion, though, Mayo steadied the ship hitting three unanswered points from Darren Coen, a monster free from O'Connor and a fly kick from Donal Vaughan. Lee Keegan was introduced and Galway's cause wasn't helped when Ian Burke was sent off in the second minute of the scheduled sixth minutes of injury time.
The finish was chaotic with Galway ending up with 12 men after the Daly brothers John and Michael both being black-carded though Galway did give themselves a life-line in the 5th minute of injury time when Shane Walsh scored a goal direct from a 13 metre free to leave a score between the sides but Mayo managed to comfortably see out the remainder of the contest.
Scorers – Mayo: J Carr 2-0, C O’Connor 0-6 (5f), D Coen 0-3, K McLoughlin 0-1, J Doherty 0-1, S Coen 0-1, D Vaughan 0-1
Galway: S Walsh 1-3 (1-2f, 0-1 45), P Cooke 0-4, E Brannigan 0-2, C McDaid 0-1, G O’Donnell 0-1, M Daly 0-1, K Molloy 0-1.
Mayo – D Clarke; K Higgins, C Barrett, B Harrison; C Boyle, P Durcan, D Vaughan; S Coen, A O’Shea; F McDonagh, K McLoughlin, J Doherty; J Carr, D Coen, C O’Connor.
Subs: C Treacy for McLoughlin (50), E Regan for Carr (55), L Keegan for McDonagh (62), M Plunkett for Doherty (69), E O’Donoghue for Durcan (73), S O’Shea for Vaughan (76).
Galway – B Power; E Kerin, D Kyne, L Silke; G O’Donnell, J Daly, S Kelly; C McDaid, P Cooke; J Heaney, S Walsh, M Daly; M Farragher, I Burke, E Brannigan.
Subs: S A Ó Ceallaigh for Kerin (27), D Comer for Kelly (ht), A Ó Laoí for Farragher (43), T Flynn for McDaid (56), K Molloy for Heaney (60), A Varley for Brannigan (66).
Ref – Joe McQuillan (Cavan).