From the throw in, this county semi-final between Mountbellew/Moylough and Caltra sparkled. The local rivals tore into each other with a passion and fervour that had both sets of supporters on their toes for the majority of the contest.
Mountbellew deployed big Joe Bergin on the edge of the square from the start, and that tactical move was to prove decisive as he caused mammoth problems for Enda Meehan.
It was Bergin’s well-timed hand pass that set up Stephen Boyle for a superbly taken early goal after only four minutes that rattled Caltra.
Three uncharacteristically missed frees from Michael Meehan also gave the crowd the feeling that it would be Mountbellew’s day.
Their manager Cyril Ryan has his side playing a high tempo, physical game that was difficult to counteract.
Caltra tried hard, but once they missed a few scoring opportunities, in particular a great goal chance at the start of the second half when Michael Kelly slipped with the goal at his mercy, they were always going to struggle.
Mountbellew kicked for home in the third quarter and scored a quick-fire 1-4 to leave Caltra reeling.
The highly impressive Sean Sweeney at corner forward got on the end of a quickly-taken free kick to fire home a superbly taken second goal and from there on it was impossible to see Caltra coming back into contention.
For Mountbellew, Joe Bergin was immense, closely followed by Cathal Kenny whose name must have been mentally noted by the watching Joe Kernan.
Kenny switched out to midfield when Bergin went to full forward and he looked a very accomplished player all through, and some of his deliveries into Bergin were made to measure. Both Bergin and Kenny hit 0-3 each and they were the two best players on display for the black and amber men.
Team captain Patrick Gardiner, who lined out at centre-back, was fortunate to only receive a yellow card after a high and dangerous early challenge, but after that foul he settled down to play some impressive football.
David Neary hit two fine placed balls - his second one a really superb effort from about 45 metres out on the wing.
County minor Gary Sweeney is a genuine talent and his pace, mobility, and use of the ball was terrific. Others who caught the eye were Colm Colleran at midfield, wing forward Joseph Meehan, and the hard-working Joss Moore and Stephen Boyle.
Caltra can have no complaints. They were well beaten by a highly focused and hungry team. Only Declan Meehan and Michael Meehan played to the standard required to win a county semi-final. Caltra are a long way from the team that swept all before them to win the All-Ireland club title a few years ago.
Nothing lasts forever and they need a injection of young fresh talent if they are to become the kingpins of Galway football once again.
Mountbellew, on the other hand, will prove a real handful for Corofin in three weeks’ time. They are an organised outfit, and having not won a county title since 1986, they will be extremely difficult to defeat.