Ugly scenes mar Galway's win over Mayo as O'Connor brothers see red in feisty affair
Galway 1-13 Mayo 0-11
Disgraceful scenes marred the end of the Galway-Mayo game in Pearse Stadium when a series of brawls seriously damaged both counties' reputations.
It was tough and feisty all day before boiling over in the 65th minute when at least 20 players became involved in a bust-up close to the Galway goal.
Referee, Anthony Nolan booked four players but more trouble erupted shortly afterwards and this time, Galway midfielder, Paul Conroy was sent off on a second yellow card.
Further hostilities saw the O'Connor brothers send off, Cillian on a straight red card and Diarmuid on a second yellow.
The referee played more than eight minutes stoppage time, much of which was spent in a state of high alert as officials struggle to retain control.
Rows apart, it was Galway's day as they recorded their third successive League win against a Mayo side that made no impression with the wind in the second half. Galway played superbly in that period, picking off some great points off speedy counter-attacks.
Having played with the wind, Galway led by 1-4 to 0-5 at half-time, the goal coming from Barry McHugh in the 18th minute. It was a splendid finish by the Mountbellew-Moylough man, who beat Ger Cafferkey in a race for possession and galloped forward before finding the right angle to beat Mayo goalkeeper, David Clarke.
It called for real precision against the dual All Star but not even he could keep out McHugh's shot.
Shane Walsh pointed a free a minute later to put Galway five points ahead (1-4 to 0-2). They had Mayo stretched to limit at that stage but the predicament brought an impressive response from the visitors.
They held Galway scoreless for the remainder of the half, while shooting three points to cut the deficit to two.
Mayo did well off Galway kick-outs, either winning primary possession from Ruairi Lavelle's deliveries or pouncing on loose ball. It put put heavy pressure on the Galway defence and while they coped fairly well, they were still taken for three points.
A feisty first half saw Wicklow referee, Anthony Nolan wave no fewer than five yellow cards (Galway 3, Mayo 2). Most of the offences were for clumsy tackles, unlike what happened late in the second half when there was a real nasty atmosphere in a contest that attracted a crowd of 9,850.
Galway: R Lavelle; D Kyne, SA O Ceallaigh, E Kerin; C Sweeney, G Bradshaw, S Kelly; P Conroy (0-2), P Cooke; J Heaney (0-1), S Walsh (0-2,1f), E Brannigan (0-3); P Sweeney, D Comer (0-2), B McHugh (1-3, 0-2f).
Subs: S Armstrong for Sweeney (ht), T Flynn for Cooke (60), A Varley for McHugh (72)., D’Arcy for Comer (77), J Duane for Bradshaw (77).
Mayo: D Clarke; G Cafferkey, C Crowe, E O’Donoghue (0-1); C Boyle (0-1), P Durcan (0-1); S Coen; J Gibbons, A O’Shea; K McLoughlin(0-1f), M Hall, D O'Connor (0-1); C O'Connor (0-5, 5f), J Doherty (0-1f), C Loftus.
Subs: A Gallagher for Loftus (57), F Boland for McLoughlin (59), G McDonagh for Gibbons (61), J Stretton for Boyle (62), S Mally for Durcan (79
Ref - A Nolan (Wicklow)