Connacht JFC Final
McHale Park, Sunday 13th May
by Brían Mangan
Galway were crowned Connacht Junior Championships in Machale Park today, but not before getting a huge scare from a battle hardened Mayo outfit who just left it too late to stage their late fightback.
Galway were much the better side in an entertaining first half, as the crowd began to swell in anticipation of the big game to follow. Pádraic Cunningham sparked the game into life 5 minutes in, waltzing past several Mayo defenders before rifling low past McGlynn in the Mayo net. The Galway full forward line of Cunningham, Kelly and Ryan was too hot to handle for Mayo in the first half, accounting for all of their 1-7 tally, until Gary Kelly was black carded on the stroke of half time. Mayo were kept in touch during this period through the high fielding of Seán Walsh at midfield,the probing of Cormac Doohan in the full forward line and the accuracy of Ronan Carolan from dead balls. Galway led 1-9 to 0-6 at the half time whisle.
The Tribesmen maintained their 6 point advantage and looked to be coasting to victory until the 15 minute mark when towering midfielder Seán Walsh ghosted in and got on the end of a speculative dropping ball in the Galway goal mouth to fist to the net and ignite the Mayo fightback. Two Enda Tierney frees from difficult angles gave Galway some breathing room again but Mayo chipped away through points from Doohan, a couple of Carolan frees and a magical James Dowd effort from the sideline. Mayo threw everything at it in the final stages with an all out attack approach including goalkeeper Chris McGlynn joining the attack, but they couldn’t engineer an equalizer. Credit to Galway however they deserved their victory after a thoroughly entertaining game, and in man of the match Pádraic Cunningham they had the games outstanding player.
GALWAY: M Breathnach (C), E O’Sullivan, D Garvey, A Ward, J O’Brien, S Ó’Currin, P O’Donnell, C Brennan, C Brady, A McDonagh (0-1), A Ó’Laoí, P Éoin Ó Curraoin, J Ryan (0-3, 0-1f), P Cunningham (1-2), G Kelly (0-3, 0-2fs) SUBS E Tierney (0-2fs), Ó’hIarnáin, M Goldrick, T Gleeson,
MAYO: C McGlynn, E McGrath, J O’Dowd, B Leonard, C Boylan, D Lydon, C Bourke, B Carr (c) (0-1), S Walsh (1-0), J Kelly, R Carolan (0-6fs), K Gallagher, C Doohan (0-2), TJ Byrne, D Keavney SUBS J Dowd (0-1), T Fahey, J Forkan, E Doran