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With six minutes to go in Elverys MacHale Park on Saturday evening, Burrishoole’s number three Paddy Mulchrone got on the end of a move started by Liam O’Malley to palm the ball to the back of the net and put his side just one point down in this game and in a great position heading down the home stretch. But The Neale held their nerve and outscored the West Mayo men by 0-4 to 0-1 over the closing six minutes to book their place in this years intermediate championship’s final four.
Goals win games the saying goes and the Galway minors proved that on Sunday in Croke park when they raised the green flag four times over the hour. Jeffrey Lynskey’s charges gave the Galway faithful the perfect start to the day with a performance of power and poise. Full forward Evan Niland finished the day with nine points to his name, while goalkeeper Darragh Gilligan put in a top class performance keeping out Tipperary on a number of occasions when the game was still in the melting pot.
An elderly lady once told me that “Apart from the Irish language, we have nothing more Irish in this country than the game of hurling.” I agree. It is the greatest game of them all. It is probably the number one game in the county, attendances at senior county finals being a very good criterion — the hurling final has always been the bigger attraction than the football counterpart, “even in the balmy days of our football three-in-a-row,” according to the late Jack Mahon.
First match for Galway:
Traditionally, once the starting 15 was announced all talk would move towards the various match-ups that would occur on the field. But even with Mayo announcing their starting 15 on Wednesday night for Sunday's big game, most of the talk was shifted towards "is that how they will actually line out". Since Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly threw the curve ball of dropping Barry Moran into the starting 15 for Mayo's win over Donegal in the quarter final win over the Ulster men, the chances of their doing the same for Dublin became a more real possability.
This time last season Iorras Aontaithe were on the brink of relegation and they needed a moment of magic to spark their season into life. Thankfully they survived and maintained their position in the upper echelons of the Mayo Football League.
Mayo defender Kevin Keane will now be eligible to play for Mayo in next weekend's All Ireland semifinal clash with Dublin after winning an appeal against his sending off in the dying stages of Mayo's victory over Donegal in the All Ireland quarter final.
The Galway players worked exceptionally hard all over the field last Sunday to harvest a terrific and inspiring victory. There was a real steeliness to the entire performance which was fantastic to see.
Current holders Cork are now the only team to stand in Galway's way of achieving a rare league and championship double this season.
A demanding FAI Cup third round fixture beckons for Galway United, who host Dundalk at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow evening.