By the time that the Galway League awoke from their slumber in this contest with the Mayo League they were chasing the game for a draw which would have sent them through to the knock-out stages of the Oscar Traynor Trophy. It was not to be for the Galway League and in all honestly it never looked like they would threaten Emmett Payton's goal over the course of a bitterly cold 90 minutes in Castlebar.
To rub salt into the wounds of defeat the Tribesmen finished the game with nine players when both Mark Moran and Seamus Crowe were given their marching orders with only seconds left in the contest. Moran was dismissed for a reckless tackle on Mayo League full back Ger O'Boyle in the middle of the park as Galway scrambled to get possession back to launch one last attack. Crowe followed him to the sideline for what must have been something he said to referee Damien McGrath in the aftermath as O'Boyle lay on the ground injured.
While there can be exciting low scoring or no score draws in games every day of the week, this was not one of them and you could count the clear goal scoring chances on your fingers over the 90 minutes as both sides looked impotent up front for long periods of the game.
The first half of the contest was bereft of incisive attacking football with Galway limited early on to a pot from distance by Brian Mannion. Mayo were faring no better as the Galway rearguard held firm against the insistent probings by the Mayo midfield from play and placed balls.
Dessie O'Malley and Gerry McLoughlin were busy up front for Mayo but there was little in the way of quality ball coming into their feet or into the channels when they ran them. Brendan Nallen and Dessie O'Malley both snatched at a handful of half chances before the turnaround, but the median point was reached with both sides trudging off to the dressing rooms to look for some inspiration from their management teams.
Mayo took the game to Galway again in the second half with Stevie Gavin forcing Ryan Griffin into a save early on. Mayo's pressure paid off in the 49th minute when Brendan Nallen and Ger O'Boyle combined well down the left flank with some neat interchanges, before O'Boyle played the ball into Dessie O'Malley as he slipped. The Westport striker controlled the ball with one touch then fired it past Griffin in the Galway goal to register the only score of the day. Galway had a chance to equalize right from the kick off when Coley Kelly got in behind the defence but fired his opportunity over the bar as Mayo were still celebrating. The hosts continued to pile the pressure on as they went looking for a second goal to seal the tie, because they knew that all Galway needed was a point to progress at their expense. Ronan O'Boyle came close when his looping header from a Gavin corner had to be headed off the line by Crowe.
With time ticking down Galway decided to kick up a gear and they piled the pressure on the Mayo 18 yard line, but the Mayo defence hustled and harried to close down any shooting opportunities to a minimum. Forcing efforts from Emlyn Coyne, who came close from a looping effort, and Crowe to be struck from distance under pressure. While the two sendings off late on will mar the contest in what was played in a very sporting manner up to this, the slow Galway start which invited Mayo on to them cost them the chance of making it into the knock-out stages for this season.
Mayo League: Emmett Payton; Tom O'Connor, Joe Lawless, Martin Geraghty, Ger O'Boyle, Alan McDonnell, Stevie Gavin, Ronan O'Boyle, Dessie O'Malley, Gerry McLoughlin. Subs: Sean McHale, Eugene Gorman.
Galway and District League: Ryan Griffin; Brian Griffin, Mark Moran, Brian Geraghty, Gareth Gorman; Paddy Quinn, Jamie O'Driscoll, Colie Kelly, Benny Lawless; Brian Mannion, Seamie Crowe. Subs: Emlyn Coyne, Garry Forde, David McDonnagh.
Referee: Damien McGrath (Mayo League ).