SLIGO V GALWAY
6PM Saturday 1st April 2017
EirGrid Connacht U21 Football Final
This Saturday at 6pm in Markievicz Park, Galway meet Sligo in the final of the GAA EirGrid Connacht U21 Football Final. The two counties have only met once before in a decider at this grade, Galway coming out the victors by 12 points to 9 in Tubbercurry in 1979. They have met a total of 22 times at U21 with Galway holding much the upper hand having won 18 of those encounters to Sligo’s 4. Overall, Galway have won 18 Connacht U21 titles and amazingly, Sligo have yet to win a single one. They will be hoping that the rapturous home crowd will help inspire them to get their hands on the JJ Fahy Cup for the first time on Saturday evening. This will be last time the U21 championship is ran in it’s current format, as next year it will be an U20 competition. The game will be preceded by the meeting of Mayo and Sligo in the Connacht Minor League at 4pm.
Sligo qualified for the final on the back of a 1-13 to 0-13 defeat of Roscommon in Kiltoom on the 22nd of March. In an exciting game played at a very fast pace throughout, it was inspirational midfielder Darragh Keenan’s four long range second half points in quick succession which ultimately made the difference between the teams. Impressive for Sligo on the night along with Keenan were wing back Sean Power and inside forwards Paddy O’Connor and Jodie O’Reilly. It was O’Reilly who bravely nipped infront of the Roscommon goalkeeper to get his team’s crucial goal with 15 minutes to go. Full match report on that game is available here http://connachtgaa.ie/sligo-through-to-connacht-u21-final/.
Galway have had two games in the competition to date. First time out they overcame Leitrim in a crazy game of two halves in Tuam on the 11th of March, 4-10 to 2-12. Playing with a strong wind, Galway raced into a 4-8 to 0-2 half time lead, with Robert Finnerty, Dessie Conneely, Cillian McDaid and Eoin Finnerty all claiming goals. However, after the interval they collapsed and only scored 0-2 in the second period, eventually coming away happy to have been on the right side of a 4 point win after getting a huge fright. Match report for that game here http://connachtgaa.ie/galway-u21s-see-off-spirited-leitrim-comeback/
On the 25th of March Galway managed to dethrone All Ireland Champions Mayo, 2-13 to 1-10 being the final score. Peter Cooke turned in a man of the match performance at midfield, also chipping in with some important long range place-balls. Significant contributions on the day were also made from full forward Paul Mannion, who kicked four first half points and was industrious throughout, and full back Seán Andy Ó’Ceallaigh. Match report for the game available here, courtesy of gaa.ie http://www.gaa.ie/football/news/galway-defeat-eirgrid-u21-holders-the-west/
The teams for Saturday night’s final are:
GALWAY: 1. Ronan O Beolain (Micheal Breathnach) 2. Liam Kelly (An Spideal) 3. Sean Andy O Ceallaigh (Leitir Mor) 4. Rory Greene (Killannin) 5. Kieran Molloy (Corofin) 6. Dylan McHugh (Corofin) 7. Cillian McDaid (Monivea-Abbey) 8. Peter Cooke (Moycullen) 9. Colm Brennan (Oileain Arainn) 10. Antaine O Laoi (An Spideal)
11. Michael Daly (Mountbellew-Moylough) 12. Colin Brady (Corofin) 13. Robert Finnerty (Salthill-Knocknacarra) 14. Paul Mannion (Kilconly) 15. Dessie Conneely (Moycullen)
SLIGO: 1. Daniel Cafferkey (Bunninadden) 2. Eddie McGuinness (Tubbercurry) 3. Luke Nicholson (St Mary’s) 4. Michael Gordon (Easkey) 5. Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch (St Mary’s) 6. Paul McNamara (St John’s) 7. Sean Power (Drumcliffe/Rosses Point) 8. Darragh Cummins (Calry/St Joseph’s) 9. Paul Kilcoyne (St Mary’s) 10. Alan McLoughlin (St Molaise Gaels) 11. Liam Gaughan (Tourlestrane) 12. Stephen Connolly (Coolaney/Mullinabreena) 13. Kyle Cawley (St Mary’s) 14. Paddy O’Connor (St Farnan’s) 15. Jodie O’Reilly (Geevagh)