An accomplished second-half display has given the Galway Garda a tilt at the All Ireland Interfirms Senior Football title.
Having overcome their Cork counterparts by 2-11 to 2-07 in Pearse Stadium, Galway now face Dublin Coaches in the All Ireland decider.
Level entering the final quarter, Galway struck two goals to carve out a four-point victory, and with leaders throughout the field, the Galway outfit has every reason to be confident of landing the All Ireland senior title for the first time.
Cork enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, particularly when Brendan Houlihan goaled after an attempted point rebounded off the crossbar. Brian Meaney and Pauric O’Connor kept Galway in touch, while Cork’s Mark Harrington responded with two points.
O’Connor and Houlihan exchanged points before the Galway men finished the half the stronger. Cormac Bane, with a fisted effort in the 24th minute, reduced the arrears, followed by a Shane Waldron point. Two Cormac Bane frees in quick succession completed the turnaround before Harrington levelled at the break: Galway 0-7 Cork Garda -1-04.
It was nip and tuck throughout the second half, but crucially the Tribesmen began to gain control around the centre through their impressive midfield partnership of Shane Waldron and Brendan Ryan. Galway took control in the final quarter, hitting 2-2 without reply to open up a seven-point lead. The first goal came when a Pauric O Connor missile landed in the Cork goalmouth which Declan Fawl prodded home. Niall Lydon and Colm Boyle added points and there was no way back for the southerners when Cormac Bane clinched victory with a fine goal.
Galway Garda: A Keane, Pauric Kelly, B Burke, S Durcan, R McIntyre, Pat Kelly, C Boyle (0-1 ), B Ryan, S Waldron(0-1 ), B Meaney(0-1 ), P O’Conner (0-2 ) N Lydon (0-2 ), D Fawl (1-0 ), M Walkin, C Bane (1-4, 3 frees ), Subs: N Delaney, S Prendergast, E Rocke, J Kelly.
Cork Garda: S O Sullivan, B Murphy, T Ahern, N Diaghneady, D Lucey, A O’Mahoney, J Daly, C Daly, D O’Donavon, S Fitzgerald, D Hickey, J Smyddy, B Houlihan (1-2 ), M Harrington (0-5, 3 frees ) S Murray. Subs, C Barrett, J O’Shea (1-0 ), B Smyddy, K Griffin, E J O’Sullivan
Referee: D Harrington w(Mayo ).