Galway leave it late, but pip Mayo on penalties to advance to final

Galway 1-9 Mayo 1-9 (Galway win 4-2 on penalties)

Galway's Michel Boyle and Mayo's Brendan Harrison in action from the Connacht FBD League semi-final at Tuam Stadium, Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Galway's Michel Boyle and Mayo's Brendan Harrison in action from the Connacht FBD League semi-final at Tuam Stadium, Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

For the second week in a row Mayo faded out in the second half and were brought to penalties, but this time they were the ones to lose out, going down 4-2 to the Tribesmen on penalties.

Diarmuid O’Connor was the first to take a spot kick, but his effort was easily saved by Maghnus Breathnach in the Galway goal. Liam Silke slammed his home with aplomb to edge Galway in front before Brian Reape brought Mayo back level with their second.

Johnny Heaney made no mistake with Galway’s second; James Kelly slammed home Mayo’s third effort to keep the contest alive, and up next was Barry McHugh whose injury time goal levelled the game in normal time. His effort bound down from the bar and over the line.

Andy Moran, who came on as sub at the start of the second half, was Mayo’s fourth taker, but his effort was saved by the Galway custodian, leaving Tom Flynn with the chance to seal the win and send Galway into next weekend's FBD Leaue final against Roscommon. The big midfielder made no mistake.

It was a turnaround for Galway because Mayo looked to be heading for the decider. But after missing three goal opportunities earlier in the half, Galway made no mistake with their fourth, three minutes into injury time. The ball was floated in by Michael Daly over the heads of the Mayo defence and Barry McHugh, who scored 1-6 over the day, made no mistake, slipping the ball low under Rob Hennelly to level it at 1-9 each at full time.

January football might not be the most attractive, but it didn’t stop a crowd of some 5,000 from making their way to Tuam Stadium for this meeting of the old rivals. Mayo started in fine form, going 0-4 to 0-0 up inthe opening 15 minutes - with Conor Diskin opening the scoring after six minutes when he tapped over a mark he won inside the 21 metre line.

Two frees from Jason Doherty followed, and one good point from play from Brian Reape before Galway got things moving after 17 minutes with a John Daly free. Ten minutes before the break they cut the gap to two through McHugh’s first pointed free of the day.

Reape kicked Mayo’s fifth point before Jason Doherty grabbed Mayo’s goal after claiming a Michael Plunkett kick and escaping the clutches of Declan Kyne to direct from close range.

McHugh’s second point was the final score of the half, leaving Mayo leading 1-5 to 0-3 at the interval.

Mayo continued where they left off with another Doherty free, but two points from McHugh reduced the deficit to four - a gap that existed for most of the second half.

Doherty and McHugh traded points before Diskin’s second of the day put Mayo five clear with 19 minutes left. John Daly brought it back to four not long after. Galway, starting to gain confidence, were twice denied - a Michael Daly bounced back off the posts, before Tom Flynn had an effort saved by Rob Hennelly,which McHugh converted from the resulting 45.

Reape looked to have steadied the Mayo ship with a well-taken point, but it was their last. Michael Daly cut the gap back to three. Galway made hard work of it, Eoghan Kerin had another Galway goal chance repelled, and messed two easy-looking chances from frees to close the gap, but not for the first time in recent years Galway struck a late goal to level, and set up the penalty kick competition.

Scorers: Mayo: J Doherty (1-4, 4f ), B Reape (0-3 ), C Diskin (0-2 ); Galway: B McHugh (1-6, 4f, 1 45 ), J Daly (0-2, 1f ), M Daly (0-1 ).

Mayo: R Hennelly; K Higgins, B Harrision, D Drake; C Boyle, M Plunkett, J McCormack; D Vaughan, D O’Connor; F McDonagh, C Loftus, F Boland; C Diskin, B Reape, J Doherty. Subs: A Moran for C Loftus, C O’Shea for F Boland, S Coen for J McCormack, L Keegan for J Doherty, J Kelly for D Drake.

Galway: M Breathnach; D Kyne, SA Ó’Ceallaigh, L Silke; K Molloy, J Daly, D Wall; K Duggan, T Flynn; C McDaid, M Farragher, J Heaney; F Burke, M Boyle, B McHugh. Subs: P Cooke for K Duggan, M Daly for M Farragher, G O’Donnell for D Wall, E Kerin for J Daly.

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