Garda (Galway ) 1-15
Teachers (Mayo ) 1-11
The Garda Galway retained the Connacht title with four points to spare over the Mayo Teachers in the final at the new Centre of Excellence in Ballyhaunis during the week.
They now advance to the All Ireland semi final where they play their counterparts from Cork in the coming weeks.
The Garda, with Cormac Bane in fine form, was the better side throughout. The result was never in doubt despite a spirited fightback from the Mayo side in the second half. Bane’s scoring exploits made the difference between the teams. Accurate from both play and placed balls, he helped himself to 10 points over the course of the hour.
After early opportunities went amiss, both sides exchanged early scores, with Cormac Bane slotting over for the Garda and Michael Lynn replying moments later for the Teachers.
The Garda gradually gained control. On top at midfield, they began to put some great moves together and hit seven unanswered points in as many minutes to grab a commanding lead.
Mark Walkin started the blitz on 12 minutes, followed by efforts from Bane and Mark Caffrey, before Walkin slotted again from a tight angle. Three points from Cormac Bane, the first of these after a great move involving Anthony Pender and Pat Kelly, and the third a delightful effort close to the sideline, left the Tribesmen seven clear.
Daniel Egan kicked point for the Teachers, but Bane, with his sixth point, replied quickly for the Garda. Colm Garvey reduced the arrears before another good move involving Anthony Pender and Shane Weldron was finished by Bane again. Mark Caffrey increased the Galway advantage before a Michael Lynn free on the stroke of half time left seven points between the sides at the interval, 0-11 to 0-04.
Although Emmett Rocke pointed almost from the throw in, the Teachers refused to lie down. Former Cavan player Michael Lynn’s accuracy from placed balls kept the Mayo men in touch, and points from Sean Grealish and Kevin Costello reduced the gap.
However substitute Shane Nallen fired home with 10 minutes remaining to wrap up the game, and although the Mayo side rallied, it was not enough to halt the Garda.
Garda: A Keane, S Durcan, Padraig Kelly, J Kelly, A Pender, Pay Kelly, S Weldron, E Rocke (0-1 ), S Fitzmaurice, Pat Kelly, M Caffrey (0-2 ), N Lydon, D Fawl, C Bane (0-10 ), M Walkin (0-2 ). Subs: M Delaney, S Igoe, S Nallen (1-0 ), M Gallagher, D Bolton.