FBD Insurance League
Galway emerged one-point winners over old rivals Mayo after a dogfight played in driving wind and rain in Castlebar this evening despite finishing with twelve men. It was an exciting game which was in doubt up until the last minute, Galway resolutely holding on for victory even with their numerical disadvantage. The game started at a frantic pace, the play swinging from end to end as the players to their credit did their best to make light of the appalling conditions by playing some free flowing football with brilliant score taking by both sides. It could have been the dream start for Mayo when inside the first minute Mayo full forward Brian Reape bore down on goal but Galway netminder Ruairí Lavelle stood tall to save his goal bound shot. Kevin McLoughlin opened the scoring with a trademark effort with the outside of his left boot from the left wing and Shane Nally quickly followed with two huge points from way out the field. At the other end, Paul Conroy showed his class with two points into the wind off his weaker left foot to supplement the fine free taking of Barry McHugh. Galway led with 0-5 to 0-3 with twenty minutes on the clock but three points in a row from Reape and two more from McLoughlin saw Mayo lead 0-8 to 0-6 at the half time whistle, having played with a strong wind.
The second half was only four minutes old when Brian Reape picked the pocket of a Galway defender to tee up Peter Naughton in front of goal and he kept his cool and slotted past Lavelle. Galway responded instantly and hit a purple patch, two quick Padraic Cunningham points followed by a deflected shot from Pat Sweeney which ended up in the net after a driving run from Conroy. Then Damien Comer marked his introduction for Galway with a nice score to put the Tribesmen two up. However, Comer then ruined his good work minutes later by retaliating to a foul and receiving a straight red. Galway’s situation was made all the more difficult two minutes later when last year’s minor captain Seán Mulkerrin was given his marching orders after receiving a black card having already been booked. Galway then produced a tremendous gutsy display to keep Mayo at bay for the remaining fifteen minutes of the game, defending their two-point advantage until the last minute of injury time when Brian Reape scored a free. It was Mayo’s first score in 35 minutes and Seán Andy Ó’Ceallaigh was dismissed in the same instance for his second bookeable offence. Referee Paddy Neilan (who had a fine game in the most difficult of conditions) blew the full time whistle on the resultant kick out. Major credit must go to both teams for producing such an enthralling dramatic battle so early in the season and we will all be happy if we get this level of intensity and entertainment for all games throughout 2018.
MAYO: 1. D. Clarke 2. S. Duffy 3. K. Keane 4. J. Oates 5. M. Plunkett 6. M. Hall 7. S. Akram 28. A. Gallagher 9. J. Gibbons 24. S. Nally (0-2) 18. K. McLoughlin (0-3, 2fs) 12. M. Ruane 13. R. O’Donoghue 14. B. Reape (0-4,3fs) 15. P. Naughton (1-0) SUBS USED: O’Connor for Nally, Ger McDonagh for Ruane, Stretton for Akram, Fionn McDonagh for Gallagher
GALWAY: 1. R. Lavelle 2. E. Kerin 3. S. A. Ó Ceallaigh 4. S. Mulkerrin 5. C. Sweeney 12. J. Duane 7. S. Kelly 8. P. Conroy (0-2) 9. K. Duggan 10. E. Brannigan (0-1) 11. P. Cooke 21. S. Walsh 13. B. McHugh (0-3fs) 14. P. Sweeney (1-1) 15. P. Cunningham (0-2) SUBS USED: Comer (0-1) for Duggan, Darcy for Cunningham, Bradshaw for Brannigan, Heaney for Cooke, Burke for McHugh, Wynne for Sweeney