Saturday 16 December 2017

Walsh pushes Galway over line

Galway 0-9 Mayo 0-7 Connacht U-21 FC semi-final

Both sides had a man sent off, but Shane Walsh edged the battle of the danger men with Mayo's Cillian O'Connor at Tuam Stadium as the Tribesmen booked a place in the final.

Walsh kicked two excellent points from play in the last six minutes to give Galway a three-point cushion, but O'Connor came very close to forcing extra-time when his blistering late free was deflected over the bar to ensure the Galway goal remained intact.

Both sides finished the first-half with 14 men as Mayo's Conor Horan picked up his second yellow card after 20 minutes, while Galway corner-back Liam Silke follow him to the line seven minutes later for a similar offence.

Referee Paddy Neiland showed a total of nine yellows and two red cards in the first-half, but after the restart the game flowed as Walsh and O'Connor did battle.

By the break Galway had worked themselves into a 0-4 to 0-3 lead after playing with the wind at their backs, but O'Connor levelled the match with a free after the restart.

O'Connor added another point nine minutes from time to pull Mayo within a point after a Galway surge, but Walsh powered on in the closing stages with two points from play and the goal-line heroics to stop O'Connor's free clinched a date in the decider in two weeks for the 2011 champions.

Scorers – Galway: S Walsh 0-6 (2fs), A Varley, C Mulryan, D Comer 0-1 each. Mayo: C O'Connor 0-4 (3fs), E Regan 0-2 (2fs), D Kirby 0-1

Galway: T Healy; L Silke, J Shaughnessy, E Walsh; M Loughnane, D Burke, P Varley; F O Curraoin, D Comer; C Mulryan, S Moran, P Cunningham; S Walsh, A Varley, G Kelly. Subs: C Rabbitte for Cunningham (h-t), S Maughan for Kelly (38), E O hEochaidh for Moran (53), I Burke for A Varley (57), G Canavan for Comer (59).

Mayo – P Mannion; B Harrison, N Freeman, A Butler; C Horan, C Walsh, E Collins; D Kirby, M Forde; A Gallagher, E Regan, F Durkan; D Coen, C O'Shea, C O'Connor. Subs: J Shaughnessy for Gallagher (42), E Jordan for Durkan (44), E Lavin for Coen (49), K Rutledge for Regan (59).

Ref – Paddy Neilan (Roscommon).

Irish Independent

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