Galway Garda’s quest for a third successive All Ireland Senior Interfirms Football Championship title is on track after a hard-earned semi-final victory over Mountjoy Prison Officers in Tuam Stadium.
In a repeat pairing of last year’s decider, Cormac Bane, with nine points in total, secured the 1-10 to 2-5 victory with two late frees to set up an All Ireland decider with the Analog/Stryker/Gencell amalgamation from Limerick.
After a tight first half when scores were level on four occasions, the match came to life in the second half with three goals in a four-minute spell. The Garda had looked in trouble when they trailed by four points seven minutes into the second half. However four Cormac Bane points in succession levelled the contest again, but even with a numerical advantage for the final quarter, the Garda needed Bane’s two late points to take them over the finishing line.
Bane had also opened the scoring when converting a 13-metre free after six minutes, but with Mountjoy enjoying plenty of procession and winning the breaks around the centre, it took a great save from Alan Keane to deny John Flynn before Vincent Quigley set up Pauric Leonard after nine minutes.
Niall Lydon fired over to edge the Garda in front before Thomas Kinsella, from wingback, soloed upfield to land a fine score for Mountjoy.
Amid the tough exchanges, the Garda forward division drew fouls from their opponents, which Bane punished, and after a John Flynn free, two Bane placed balls left the Galway men in front again. However before the break Vincent Quigley rounded off the scoring with the point of the first half when he fired over from distance to leave the sides level at the interval 0-4 to 0-4.
The second half came to life when the inrushing Pauric Moran made no mistake from close range when fed by Bane. That spurred Mountjoy into action and when Pauric Leonard was impeded, John Flynn converted the resultant free to reduced the gap to two a minute later.
Then two goals in a minute left the Dublin side in control. The first came after five minutes when Mountjoy advanced down the right and Trevor Kilgannon fired across the face of the goal where Shane O’Brien was on hand to tap home. With their tails up, Mountjoy scored again when, from the kickout ,Niall Smith’s long ball found Desmond Carlos who made no mistake when firing his side into a four-point lead.
However Emmett Rocke and Robert Molloy began to pull the strings around the centre for the Galway side and, with quality ball, Bane landed two points from play to halve the deficit. Two more Bane frees restored parity, and with Mountjoy’s corner back Shane Horgan dismissed, Galway were on top.
Amazingly it took another 16 minutes for the next score as both sides missed chances, but, with 90 seconds remaining, the Garda hit the front when Bane again was on target from a 30 metre free. The Galway outfit then closed out the match with another free from the Caherlistrane sharp shooter in injury time.
Galway Garda: A Keane, A Pender, Padraig Kelly, S Durcan, P Casey, Pat Kelly, S Prendergast, E Rocke, R Molloy, N Lydon (0-1 ), M Caffrey, S Nallon, P Moran (1-0 ) M Walkin, C Bane (0-9, 7 frees ), Subs: B Meaney, S Fitzmaurice, P McBride, D Fawl, D Connellan.