The Galway U21s, under the guidance of Gerry Fahy, had a sensational 3-20 to 2-14 win over Sligo after extra time at Markievicz Park on Sunday.
At one stage in the first half Galway found themselves behind by 1-7 to 0-2, and that kind of a poor start cannot be repeated when they face a very highly rated Kerry in the semi-final on Saturday week (April 15 ). The venue has yet to be decided, but will probably be Limerick. Dublin will face the Ulster champions in the other semi-final.
Galway were 1-7 to 0-5 behind at half-time and were all square at full-time, with some of the maroon substitutes adding real value, hitting a total of 2-5 from the bench.
Caherlistrane’s Céin Darcy was influential around the middle on his arrival and he will be pushing hard for a starting place in the semi-final.
Moycullen’s Sean Kelly, who is just coming back from a hamstring injury, fisted two goals in the first half of extra time, and they were key scores. Young Cillian McDaid also caught the eye with a super performance, and last year’s minor Robert Finnerty also chipped in with 0-6 (0-4fs ).
It was Galway’s 19th title at this grade and their last - the U21 championship being replaced by an U20 competition in 2018.
Galway: R O Beolain (Micheal Breathnach ) , L Kelly (An Spideal ), S O Ceallaigh (Leitir Mor ), R Greene (Killannin ) , K Molloy (Corofin ), D McHugh (Corofin ), C McDaid (Monivea-Abbey ), M Daly (Cpt, Mountbellew-Moylough ), P Cooke (Moycullen ), A O Laoi (An Spideal ), C Brennan (Oileain Arainn ), C Brady (Corofin ) , R Finnerty (Salthill-Knocknacarra ), P Mannion (Kilconly ), D Conneely (Moycullen ). Subs: S Kelly, Cein D’Arcy, E Finnerty, E Lee, M Boyle, C Haslam, Colm Mannion, P O Curraoin, W Finnerty.