Despite playing with two extra men for the last 12 minutes of normal time after both Damien Comer and Sean Mulkerrin had been sent to the line, the former for straight red and the latter for a black card having already be booked - Mayo were unable to see off the challenge of Kevin Walsh’s Galway at home, going down by a point and not scoring for over 34 minutes in the second half including injury time.
The groundsmen worked hard to ensure that the Mayo faithful weren’t going to be disappointed for the second time in five days and despite the terrible conditions in Castlebar on Friday night - Mayo got their second game of the year out of the way just 46 hours after their first one came to a conclusion.
Kicking into the Bacon Factory end of the ground with a strong breeze behind them Mayo went in leading by two points on as score line of 0-8 to 0-6 at the break thanks to three points from both Kevin McLoughlin who was his usual busy self at the centre of the action and Brian Reape, the young Moy Davitts man took a while to find his feet early on with three wides in the first few minutes, but he kicked on great score from play and converted two close range frees. Mayo’s other scores came from Garrymore’s Shane Nally, who hammered over two scores from well out the park. The Galway based Garda has one of the sweetest strikes of the ball in the county when he gets it right and he delivered with both of his first half points.
Galway’s Barry McHugh kicked two points for his side from frees, with midfielder Paul Conroy tagging on two of his own from play with Eamon Brannigan and Patrick Sweeney adding the others. Kevin Walsh’s side could have had two goals with Sean Kelly hitting the post on 11 minutes and Padraic Cunnigham coming close forcing David Clarke into a fine save on 28 minutes. Mayo could have also hit the net - with Reape going close early on only for Ruairi Lavelle to pull off a good save the rebound to spin wide off Reape’s knee.
The second half couldn’t have started better for Mayo with Peter Naughton finishing the ball to the back of the net just five minutes in after Brian Reape had turned over Johnny Duane and fed the Knockmore man who fired it home at the near post. But that was as good as it got for Mayo on the scoreboard for the rest of normal time. They didn’t score until the fourth minute of injury time when Brian Reape slotted over a free that saw Galway reduced to 12 men when Sean Andy O’Ceallaigh was sent to the line to join the two men who went before him.
After Naughton’s goal, Padraic Cunningham kicked over two points to leave just three between the sides and that advantage was wiped out 14 minutes into the second half when Patrick Sweeney got on the end of a powerful run from Paul Conroy, Sweeney shot for goal and it took a deflection off the back of a Mayo defender and into the back of the net. That score was quickly followed by a pointed free from Barry McHugh and that was followed by a score from Damien Comer to put Galway two clear with 18 minutes to go.
What followed for the rest of the game, wasn’t pretty on the eye - with a number of off the ball scuffles and poor passing from both sides, but Mayo will be disappointed that they weren’t able to turn the screw on Galway despite having a two man advantage for a long stretch of the game - when legs were tiring on a heavy and sodden pitch.
Mayo: B Reape (0-4, 3f ) P Naughton (1-0 ), K McLoughlin (0-3, 2f ), S Nally (0-2 )
Galway:P Sweeney (1-1 ), B McHugh (0-3 3f ), P Conroy (0-2 ), P Cunnnigham (0-2 ) E Brannigan (0-1 ), D Comer (0-1 ),
Mayo: D Clarke; S Duffy, K Keane, J Oates; M Plunkett, M Hall, S Akram; S Nally , J Gibbons; A Gallagher, K McLoughlin, M Ruane; R O’Donoghue, B Reape, P Naughton. Subs: D O’Connor, G McDonagh, J Stretton, F McDonnagh
Galway: R Lavelle; E Kerin, S A O’Ceallaigh, S Mulkerrin; C Sweeney, S Walsh, J Duane; P Conroy, K Duggan; E Brannigan, P Cooke, S Kelly; B McHugh, P Sweeney, P Cunningham. Subs: D Comer, C D’Arcy, G Bradshaw, J Heaney, F Burke, D Wynne
Ref: P Neiland (Roscommon )