Galway Ladies stunned their opponents and the pundits when winning this year’s Connacht Senior Football Crown at McHale Park on Sunday by 4-10 to 1-17.
In a dramatic final 10 minutes Galway came from 10 points down to snatch victory and bring the cup back to Galway for the first time since 2010.
It was a huge turnaround for the Galway Ladies who had been taken apart by Mayo in the division two league final less than two months ago. As a result they went into Sunday’s decider as underdogs and, for long periods of this fixture, Mayo, through Cora Staunton, looked to be cruising to another comfortable victory.
However in Gabriel Naughton’s first competitive match in charge of Galway since taking over from Con Moynihan, his ladies, with several experienced hands back in the maroon, staged a remarkable second-half revival. Goals from Edel Concannon, Eilis Gannon, Ger Conneally and substitute Gillian O’Connor had Galway on the front foot, while Mayo had skipper Claire Egan and Aileen Gilroy sinbinned at crucial stages in the second half.
It was a remarkable recovery for the Tribeswomen who had looked dead and buried as Mayo held a commanding 1-15 to 1-5 lead with 13 minutes left.
However Galway fired 2-3 without reply as Edel Concannon added two more frees to her tally of eight, and Ger Conneally sneaked through to find the net. Sinead Burke sent over another Galway score before Eilis Gannon scored a third goal for Galway to leave just a point in it, 1-15 to 3-8.
Player of the match Concannon sent over two more frees in reply to Aileen Gilroy’s point for Mayo, before Galway dramatically snatched it. Gannon fed substitute Gillian O’Connor who palmed to the net’s back post ensuring Galway won this year’s Connacht decider to crown what has been to date a difficult season for the Tribeswomen.
Mayo: A Tarpey; M Corbett, N Tierney, L Ryder (A Roddy 54mins ); S Tierney (A Bell 29mins ), C Egan, C Connolly; M Carter, C McManamon; F McHale, C Staunton (0-14, 7 frees ), D Doherty (N Kelly 50mins ); S Rowe (0-1 ), A Gilroy (1-2 ), Y Byrne (C Hegarty 58mins ).
Galway: J Connolly; M Coyne, S Conneally, A Seoighe (E Flaherty 34mins ); B Hannon, A Daly, S Burke (0-1 ); E Curley, A Clarke; D Brennan (G O’Connor 56mins 1-0 ), C Hehir (R Leonard 47mins ), G Conneally (1-0 ); E Gannon (1-1 ), L Joyce, E Concannon (1-8, 8 frees ).
Referee: J Niland (Sligo ).