Galway will more than likely have to wait until the last Sunday in June in a probable Connacht semi-final in McHale Park in order to try to defeat Mayo in a senior competitive game in 2010.
The only other possibility is if both counties reach the division one league final in April and have another shoot out before the summer.
However that scenario is exceedingly unlikely and the recent record, including the defeat in Pearse Stadium last July, currently reads: Mayo – three, Galway – zero.
At least last Sunday in McHale Park, unlike the recent league debacle, it took a late scoring burst by Mayo to collect their first FBD Connacht League title since 2003. Four points in the final 10 minutes by Mayo saw them win this closely-fought derby match.
Considering that Joe Kernan was without the Corofin contingent who will play St Gall’s on Saturday night in Parnell Park, Michael Meehan, Seán Armstrong, Nicky Joyce and a few other regulars, he will be relatively pleased that such an experimental side gave a committed and hard-working display.
Mayo fielded the majority of their best XV and it was no surprise when they raced into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after 10 minutes with Ronan McGarrity, Enda Varley (2 ) and Peadar Gardiner all on the scoresheet.
Galway, who were driven on by Diarmuid Blake from centre-back, stayed in touch with points from Eoin Concannon (free ), Barry Cullinane and Cillin De Paor (free ), and were only two in arrears, 0-6 to 0-4, at the small whistle.
Mayo scored the first two points of the second half and looked as if they would win in a canter, but Galway took control around the middle of the field with Niall Coleman and Barry Cullinane combining well. Their possession allowed Galway to knock over four points without reply from wing-back Gary O’Donnell (2 ), Joe Bergin and Cillin De Paor (free ) to level the match for the first time.
However when the fat was in the fire it was Mayo who finished stronger and they pushed on to win with three to spare.
Both managers took something out of the game. Mayo manager John O’Mahony said he was pleased that his team were able to up the ante and get the couple of points that made the difference in the end.
Likewise Joe Kernan praised the work rate, attitude and application of his side and he will be pleased that players such as Eoin Concannon (St James ), Eoin Ó Conghaile (Naomh Anna, Leitir Móir ), Conor Healy (Salthill ), Cillin De Paor (Carraroe ) and Eoin McDonagh (Barna ) all had some game time.
It also gave management an opportunity to experiment with Joe Bergin lining out at the edge of the square.
There will be no tears shed in Galway football circles about losing the FBD final and as Kernan said after the game, “The county board will probably be pleased we did not win as they won’t have to fund another trip to New York next October.”
Next up in the NFL is Cork and the Galway panel will know they have to improve enormously and cut out some of the unforced errors if they are to collect two points away to Cork on Saturday week.
Galway: E Ó Conghaile; D O’Neill, F Hanley, E McDonagh; T Fahy, D Blake, G O’Donnell (0-2 ); B Cullinane (0-1 ), N Coleman; C Bane, C De Paor (0-3, 3fs ), C Healy; E Concannon (0-2, 1f ), J Bergin (0-1 ), M Martin. Sub used: D Dunleavy for Bane.
Mayo: K O’Malley; A Feeney, G Cafferkey, D Vaughan; P Gardiner (0-1 ), T Howley, C Barrett (0-1 ); T Parsons, R McGarrity (0-2 ); A Moran (0-2 ), B Kelly, S O’Shea (0-1 ); E Varley (0-4, 1f ), A O’Shea, M Ronaldson (0-1 ). Subs used: N Douglas for Kelly; K McLoughlin for Howley; M Sweeney for Ronaldson.