Many times in the past decade, Galway football fans have headed to championship games hoping to win, and returned disappointed, but last weekend was a day to savour.
Alan Flynn's u-21 football panel produced a solid display to see off a highly-rated Kildare outfit by 2-10 to 2-05 in Tullamore’s O' Connor Park on Saturday afternoon.
5/2 outsiders before the throw-in, Galway won with flare, passion, grit and plenty of football skill, and well-taken scores. It was a great team effort.
Kildare did shoot 19 wides, which is an appalling statistic, but, as Galway team manager Alan Flynn said after the game, many of those wides were as a result of some high quality defending and pressure from the maroon rearguard.
Kildare enjoyed oodles of possession, but they lacked the footballing guile and cuteness of the likes of Ian Burke, Adrian Varley, Shane Walsh, Seán Moran, and the grit of guys like Tom Flynn, Fiontán Ó Curraoin, Damien Comer, Daithí Burke, Cathal Mulryan and James Shaughnessy at full-back.
At times Kildare looked like a team of manufactured robots - big, strong and powerful, but lacking co-ordination when on the ball. In contrast Galway looked like a team of talented and skilful ball players. They played as a real team, while the management also used the bench wisely, bringing on four subs. Kildare’s Kieran McGeeney only brought on two players, and that was when the horse had thrown the head and appeared to have already bolted for the Curragh.
Following this win, Galway are fixed to play Cork in the final at 7pm on May 4 (Saturday ) in the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.