Sunday 18 August 2019

Mayo take their seat at the top table after topsy-turvy clash

Mayo 2-13 Galway 1-13

Mayo's Darren Coen tussles for the ball with Declan Kyne during their round 4 qualifier last night. Photo: Eóin Noonan
Mayo's Darren Coen tussles for the ball with Declan Kyne during their round 4 qualifier last night. Photo: Eóin Noonan

Seán McGoldrick

Mayo's championship Odyssey continues after they marched into their ninth All-Ireland quarter-final in ten seasons as they finally got the better of arch-rivals Galway.

Afterwards, Galway boss Kevin Walsh, who refused to speculate about his future, was critical of referee Joe McQuillan, although he did acknowledge that his side had made crucial errors. "You look at missing a penalty, conceding a poor goal, hitting the post, missing one or two frees - that game was there for winning and a few awful decisions put us on the back foot."

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Declan Kyne of Galway and Cillian O'Connor of Mayo. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Declan Kyne of Galway and Cillian O'Connor of Mayo. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Two early goals from James Carr gave Mayo a cushion which they never surrendered, although Galway twice reduced the deficit to three points in the second half.

Galway finished the game with 12 men and were struggling towards the end, although a goal direct from a 13 metre Shane Walsh free left the Mayo fans on the edge of their seats again. The key moment in the second half came when David Clarke saved Liam Silke's poor penalty and although the Tribesmen introduced Damien Comer at half-time, he was unable to change the course of the game.

The challenges become even steeper for James Horan's 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 8.

During his previous reign as Mayo boss, Horan had masterminded three famous wins over the Tribesmen on the spin. But for Galway boss Kevin Walsh this loss could jeopardise his future.

Mayo's David Clarke saves a penalty from Liam Silke. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Mayo's David Clarke saves a penalty from Liam Silke. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

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.

Mayo made a sensational start with James Carr hitting two goals in the opening nine minutes. The first, after six minutes, was primarily due to an error from goalkeeper Bernard Power who spilled a speculative long ball from Darren Coen. Carr was quickest to react, driving the ball to the net to put his side 1-2 to 0-0 ahead.

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Galway, who began with just two forwards, pulled two points back via Peter Cooke before Carr struck for a second, 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, couldn't make an impact. Mind you, Mayo weren't overly creative themselves in 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 Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh replaced Eoghan Kerin, and gradually the Tribesmen began to made an impact with Cooke, who was being marked by Aidan O'Shea, kicking four first-half points. Galway kicked three points on the spin but Coen hit a crucial Mayo point in injury time to leave his side 2-7 to 0-7 ahead with Walsh hitting an injury-time free off the upright.

Galway introduced Comer at the start of the second half for his first appearance since last year's All-Ireland semi-final having undergone ankle surgery.

By the 42nd minute Mayo were eight points clear but after Donal Vaughan missed a goal chance, Galway hit a purple patch. Michael Daly hit a point; then Brendan Harrison fouled Ian Burke in the square. Unfortunately for them, Silke squandered the opportunity with a poor effort which was easily saved by Clarke. Walsh converted the resulting '45 and Galway kicked the next two points to leave three between the sides.

Mayo steadied the ship, hitting three unanswered points from Darren Coen, a monster free from O'Connor and a fly kick from Vaughan. Lee Keegan was introduced and Galway's cause wasn't helped when Ian Burke was sent off in the second minute of injury time. The finish was chaotic with Galway reduced to 12 after the Daly brothers, John and Michael, were both black-carded as Mayo saw out the last few minutes.

Scorers - Mayo: J Carr 2-0; C O'Connor 0-6 (5f), D Coen 0-3, K McLoughlin, S Coen, D Vaughan, J Doherty 0-1 each. Mayo: D Clarke; C Barrett, B Harrison, K Higgins; D Vaughan, P Durcan, C Boyle; S Coen, A O'Shea; F Mc Donagh, 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 (63), M Plunkett for Doherty (70), E O'Donoghue for Durcan 70 + 4, S O'Shea for Vaughan 70 + 7.

Galway: S Walsh 1-3 (2f, 1 '45) P Cooke 0-4, E Brannigan 0-2, C McDaid, G O'Donnell, M Daly, K Molloy 0-1 each.

Galway: B Power; E Kerin, D Kyne, L Silke; G O'Donnell, C McDaid, J Daly; P Cooke, M Daly; S Kelly, S Walsh, J Heaney; E Brannigan, M Farragher, I Burke. Subs: S A Ó Ceallaigh for Kerins (28); D Comer for Kelly ht; A Ó Laoí for Farragher (43), T Flynn for McDaid (55), K Molloy for Heaney (60) A Varley for Brannigan (66).

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

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