The final four of the Galway senior football championship has been decided following a feast of football last weekend.
There were thrills and spills aplenty which now leaves just Corofin, Mountbellew-Moylough, Moycullen and Tuam Stars remaining in this year's championship.
The draw for the semi-finals was made on Sunday evening, and it threw up a repeat of last year’s semi-final between Tuam Stars and Moycullen, while familiar foes Corofin and Mountbellew Moylough will do battle in the other side of the draw.
The quarter-final of the weekend was the clash of Tuam Stars and Barna which went all the way to extra time.
Barna began the first half playing into the Prairie end against what was a near gale force wind. Interestingly, captain Tom Curran had elected to play into the teeth of the breeze which must have been a tactic by Barna in order to set out their defensive stall, which manager Seán Conlon had organised so well up to this point in the championship.
However, despite a bright start, Barna's defence was breached on numerous occasions in the opening half as Tuam took control.
Gary O’Donnell’s bombarding runs caused havoc in the Barna rearguard, who were at sixes and sevens at times, and Tuam went into half-time six points to the good by 0-09 to 0-03.
The pick of the scores for Tuam were a Gavan Connell beauty off his left from distance and a Brian Mannion score off his right where there was some wonderful individual work on the terrace sideline to find some space to shoot.
Barna came out in the second half a totally different side, with increased energy and better use of the ball. And when Gary O’Donnell black carded and sent to the bin for 10 minutes, Barna took full advantage to close the gap on the Stars.
Young forward Oisín Gormally was pivotal in this revival as he kicked three outstanding scores from play. Barna’s top scorer this season, Dónál Ó’Cúaláin, kicked the leveller for his side, only for a super Cormac McWalter free to peg them back once again.
Tom Curran then delivered up the other end of the pitch for the underdogs, sending the game to extra-time.
Fatigue started to kick in and the number of errors increased, but it did not stop Brian Mannion from kicking another peach into the breeze as he took on two defenders, cut inside, and curled one over off his right.
It was tit-for-tat as Barna led 0-14 to 0-12 at the interval in extra-time. Tuam, however, had more in the tank, and pushed on to win it with substitute Ben O’Connell providing the much-needed energy. He scored two points, including the winner, which separated the teams at the end as Tuam prevailed by 0-17 to 0-16.
Saturday’s other quarter final featured Corofin and Salthill-Knocknacarra where the reigning champions eased to a 1-18 to 0-09 win.
Gary Sice and Jason Leonard were most prominent on the scoreboard for the victors, kicking 0-07 and 0-05 respectively.
The opening game on Sunday between Mountbellew-Moylough and Killanin did not provide much drama as Val Daly’s side coasted to a 2-13 to 1-5 win. Killanin’s performance was well below par as they bowed out with a whimper. In the final game of the weekend, Moycullen eventually overcame a mightily determined St James who gave them a right scare for three-quarters of the game.
St James took a 2-05 to 0-06 half-time lead and stuck to the heavy favourites for large parts of the game, but eventually fell short. The Jimmies will be disappointed with the loss, but when they reflect in a few weeks' time , they will be pleased with their efforts this season and be hopeful of building again for next year.