A powerful last quarter, full of conviction, heart and belief saw the Galway minor footballers eke out a one-point victory (0-10 to 1-6 ) over Longford to advance to an All-Ireland semi-final against a highly rated Cork side in three weeks’ time (August 29 ).
Galway had some fine individual performances all over the field and there was great leadership shown when it was most vitally needed in the last 15 minutes of a low-scoring encounter.
The conditions at Hyde Park were not conducive to good football or a high scoring game, and the sides were level at 0-3 apiece at the interval. Then Longford pushed ahead by three, 1-5 to 0-5, at the end of the third quarter.
It was then Galway’s best player over the hour, Peadar Ó Gríofa, really showed his value. He landed four unanswered points to help power Galway into the semi-final. Ó Gríofa is not long back from a nasty foot injury and he has been impressive for the side since his recovery.
Kilkerrin’s Conor Rabbitte played his role too and his three points were crucial to the victory. The introduction of big Thomas Flynn was also a big plus and his height and ball-winning ability was badly needed when he crossed the whitewash. It was a risk by the management team as he is just back from a thumb injury, but it paid off.
Team manager Gerry Fahy was understandably proud of his team after their courageous fight back and he is now looking forward to the All-Ireland semi-final.
“I am delighted this group of players will get the opportunity to play in Croke Park. They are terrific young men and they have worked exceptionally hard all year and a semi-final place is the very least they deserve.
“Hopefully the win over Longford and how well they played in getting the win will help them to play with more freedom and really show their full potential against Cork.
“There are some terrific players on our panel - players as good as any minor team in the country and we have a few weeks now to fine tune things and give the semi-final a right go. Anything can happen on any championship Sunday and we will be going to Dublin to try to get to the All-Ireland final. We are capable of playing a lot better then we have shown so far.”
Tyrone hot favourites
In the other quarter-finals Mayo were too strong for Offaly, and Tyrone, who are red hot favourites to win the title this season, enjoyed a comprehensive win over Kerry. Tyrone have won three All-Ireland minor titles in the past 10 years - ’01, ’04 and 2008 and they are 8/11 in the bookies to win the 2010 title.
Cork’s last minor success was in 2000 and they are 7/2 to collect this year, while Galway last won in 2007 and are available at 4/1, while Mayo are 9/2 and their last minor win was in 1985.
Scorers for Galway: P O Griofa 0-5 (2f ); C Rabbitte 0-3 (1f ), S Maughan (1f ), C O'Neill 0-1.
Galway: James Keane (Barna ), Philip Ezergalis (Moycullen ), James Shaughnessy (Ballinasloe ), Paul Varley (Cortoon Shamrocks ), Fiach O Bearra (Michéal Breathnachs ), Marcus Kelly (Ballinasloe ), Tom Curran (Barna ); Eoghan Commins (Claregalway ), Fionntán O’ Curraoin (Michéal Breathnachs ), Niall Quinn (Tuam Stars ), Peadar Ó Gríofa (Michéal Breathnachs ), Shane Maughan (St Michael’s ), Cathal O'Neill (Renvyle ), Conor Rabbitte (Kilkerrin-Clonberne ), Niall Walsh (Killanin ).Subs: Thomas Flynn (Athenry ) for Quinn (37 ); David Black (Clifden ) for O Bearra (39 ); Jack Vaughan (Clifden ) for Ezergalis (43 ); Adrian Varley (Cortoon Shamrocks ) for O'Neill (48 )