U-21 footballers qualify for Connacht final against Roscommon

The weather was absolutely Baltic in Tuam stadium last Saturday evening for the Galway and Mayo U-21 Connacht semi-final.

Some locals from around Corofin, Cortoon, Killererin and Annaghdown, subsequently admitted under duress, that they headed straight from the venue to the "leaba" with hot water bottles in tow to try and warm up their aging bones.

It really was bloody cold, and the wind chill factor was particularly high, however at least the home based supporters were warmed up significantly by a valiant and courageous victory by the Galway lads which sees them qualify for a Connacht final against Roscommon on Saturday week in Hyde Park.

Alan Flynn's charges came through against a highly rated Mayo side on a score-line of 0-9 to 0-7, with Kilkerrin/Clonberne's Shane Walsh shooting six points in a stellar display.

While Walsh took the man of the match award and got most of the plaudits, it was a real team effort and was a fine workmanlike performance.

Defensively Galway were very well served by the impressive James Shaughnessy at full-back and Daithí Burke who did a fine job at number six marshalling Mayo captain Cillian O' Connor. Thomas Healy also did well between the sticks and he is a good young keeper.

At midfield Annaghdown's Damien Comer worked really hard and kicked one excellent point off his left foot in the second half after collecting a short free from Shane Walsh.

It was great to see Comer do well, as he is a really honest and committed player who always gives his all for any team he is involved with.

Beside him, senior player and team captain Fiontán Ó Curraoin did some good things and linked play reasonably well.

Up front, Walsh's six points were crucial to the win.

Two of his points were really superb efforts and he can score from distance off either foot which is a great asset. With good and positive coaching, and plenty of good decision making by him on a personal level when in possession, he has the skills set and raw talent to be a really good player at senior level for Galway.

Cathal Mulryan was also very impressive and he did a lot of good work for the team all over the field as well as notching a very good point.

His club-mate Adrian Varley also showed well from full-forward and Shane Maughan made a very big contribution up front on his introduction. His ability to win possession and hold onto it up could be a powerful weapon against the Rossies in ten days time.

Galway led by 0-4 to 0-3 at half time after playing with the wind at their backs, but Cillian O'Connor levelled the match with a free after the restart and it looked as if Mayo could power away from the home side. However Galway knuckled down and showed great resilience to stay with Mayo and when the big scores were needed, Walsh fired over two fine points from play to seal the win for his side.

Galway: Thomas Healy, Liam Silke, James Shaughnessy, Eoin Walsh, Mark Loughnane, Daithí Burke, Paul Varley; Fiontán Ó Curraoin (Cpt ), Damien Comer (0-1 ), Cathal Mulryan (0-1 ), Séan Moran, Padraig Cunningham, Shane Walsh 0-6 (2fs ), Adrian Varley (0-1 ), Gary Kelly.

Subs: C Rabbitte for Cunningham (h-t ), S Maughan for Kelly (38 ), E O hEochaidh for Moran (53 ), I Burke for A Varley (57 ), G Canavan for Comer (59 ).


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