Three super goals power Galway minor footballers into All-Ireland final

Galway's Paul Kelly and Meath's Conor Harford in action from the Electric Ireland GAA Football All Ireland Minor Championship semi-final at Croke Park on Saturday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Galway's Paul Kelly and Meath's Conor Harford in action from the Electric Ireland GAA Football All Ireland Minor Championship semi-final at Croke Park on Saturday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

At half time in the All-Ireland minor semi-final at Croke Park it was looking a bit bleak for Galway, behind by 2-04 to 0-6 against Meath.

However three superbly taken goals from Eoghan Tinney, Oisín McCormack and Tony Gill turned the game around, and in the end Donal Ó Fátharta's men romped into an All-Ireland final clash with Kerry on September 2.

Galway won by seven points on a score-line of 3-13 to 2-09, and they were well worth that margin of victory after a superb second half with some inspirational displays from midfielders Paul Kelly and team captain Conor Raftery, half-backs Tony Gill and Cathal Sweeney.

Up front Aidan Halloran and substitute Oisín McCormack also really went to town on the Meath rearguard with some terrific power play and strong running.

Galway outscored the Royals by 3-7 to 0-5 in that second half in what was a wonderful 30 minutes of football.

Sweeney impressed

Wing-back Cathal Sweeney from Salthill kicked three early points for his team all from play and they were badly needed as Galway let Meath in for two sucker goals. Galway were by far the more dominant team in the second half, and once Salthill/Knocknacarra's Eoghan Tinney neatly struck Galway’s opening goal at the Hill 16 end in the 40th minute, Galway really grew in belief.

Paul Kelly who used the ball fabulously and Conor Raftery really ramped up their efforts around the middle and turned the possession tide Galway's way, and from then on there was only really one team in it for the final quarter.

Galway could have scored another two goals in the last few minutes if there had been a bit more guile, selflessness and "heads up" football from one or two of the forward substitutes.

Team manager Donal Ó Fáthartha from An Spidéal was rightly delighted with how his team responded in that second half.

"It can go either way with young lads. They can either drop the heads or keep going, so we're delighted that our lads kept going.

"It was tough, and there were a lot of guys out on their feet, but we had momentum late on. It was a good team performance and we now turn our attention to the final in a few weeks."

Ó Fáthartha is joined in his management team by selectors Cosmos Gilmore, Enda Daly and Des Sheeran and they will know that they are going to face another massive challenge against a Kerry outfit on All-Ireland final day that are going for a five in a row at this level.

Kerry beat Monaghan by 1-16 to 2-11 in their semi-final last Sunday and are hot favourites to retain the minor title.

However if Galway could play for 60 minutes, like they did for the last 30 last weekend, who knows what could happen.

Scorers for Galway: A. Halloran 0-4, E.Tinney, O. McCormack, T. Gill 1-0 each, C. Sweeney 0-3, R. Monaghan 0-2 (0-2f ), D. Cox, P. Kelly, C. Raftery and T. Culhane 0-1 each.

Galway: D Halloran (Cortoon Shamrocks ), E Walsh (Cortoon Shamrocks ), S Black (Clifden ), C Deane (Moycullen ), R Monaghan (Oughterard ), T Gill (Corofin ), C Sweeney (Salthill-Knocknacarra ), P Kelly (Moycullen ), C Raftery (Glenamaddy & Northern Gaels, cpt ), O Gormley (Barna ), A Halloran (Salthill-Knocknacarra ), L Judge (Caherlistrane ), E Tinney (Salthill-Knocknacarra ), D Cox (Moycullen ), M Cooley (Corofin ) Subs used: C Hernon (Barna ), O McCormack (Ballinasloe ), É McCormack (An Cheathrú Rua ), T Culhane (Clane, Kildare ), C Halbard (Corofin ).

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