There was seven points in it on the scoreboard at the end - but with five minutes left Galway were leading by just two points.
Two late goals put the gloss though on a deserved win for the young Tribesmen in Castlebar on Friday night and saw Mayo slump to their second defeat in a row in this round robin championship. Mayo now have to await the outcome of the final round of fixtures next weekend in which they have a bye in to see where they will stand when the table is finalised.
The first half was a drab affair with Mayo kicking eight wides and going in level with Galway who were more efficient with their shooting putting just one effort off target and raising the white flag with four.
Frank Irwin opened the scoring for Mayo four minutes in with a well taken effort after Mayo turned over a promising looking Galway attack and move the ball with pace to the Ballina man. He doubled Mayo’s lead sixty seconds later with another effort from play after Eoin Gilraine had won the kick-out from the previous score and played in his full forward.
Irwin could have put Mayo three clear with a free from a tight enough angle on the eight minute mark, but his effort drifted just to the left and wide of the target. Galway got motoring on the scoreboard 12 minutes in with Daniel Cox firing over despite the pressure of two Mayo defenders trying to stop him.
Two minutes later Evan Nolan had the game level after some good work involving Tomo Culhane and Dylan Brady to set up the Galway number ten. Culhane put his side in front for the first time just after the quarter of an hour mark from free - that lead lasted five minutes before Gilraine fired over a fine score on the run, that was followed up six minutes from the break by a Ciaran Mylett free. The final score of the half came from Culhane who was fed the ball after a undercooked effort from a 45 off the boot of James McLaughlin was recycled well by the Galway attack.
The second half was a far feistier and faster affair with Nathan Grainger getting the first score of the half for Galway from a well struck 45. Mayo’s centre-half-back Ruairi Keane levelled it up not long after following a powerful run from deep.
Cian Hernon and Mylett traded points as both sides went for each other with power and pace. Points from McLaughlin and Grainger had Galway two to the good - with Mayo sub Conor Reid reacting sharply after the ball broke off the knee of Donie Halleran in the Galway goal from an Ethan Henry effort that dropped short.
Culhane made it 0-9 to 0-7 for the visitors on 40 minus and three minutes later he stretched that gap out to three points from a close range free that was awarded in the aftermath of a fine save by Luke Jennings from a Cian Hernon effort at goal.
With a quarter of the game left to play, Mayo cut the distance to just two scores thanks to a Mylett free - but it was looking like Galway were the side who were going to see this one out owning most of the possession in the half.
Mylett and Culhane traded points from frees, but with five minutes to go the decisive moment of the game arrived. Galway worked the ball in smartly to Warren Seoige - got in on goal and was adjudged by referee Eamon O’Grady to have been fouled by Jennings in the Mayo goal - it was a borderline decision but the fortune favoured the visitors.
Culhane stepped up and drove the ball to the back of the net to put Galway four clear and looking good for victory. Mayo went chasing hard at this point, but they were exposed at the back three minutes into injury time and sub Niall Cunningham got on the end of a move to slot home Galway’s second goal and send the points home with them south of the border.
Mayo: C Mylett (0-5, 4f ) F Irwin (0-2 ), R Keane (0-1 ), E Gilraine (0-1 )
Galway: T Culhane (1-4, 1-0 pen, 2f ), N Grainger (0-4, 1 45’ ), N Cunningham (1-0 ), E Nolan (0-2 ), D Cox (0-1 ), J McLoughlin (0-1 ), C Reid (0-1 ), C Hernon (0-1 )
Mayo: L Jennings; A Morrison, O Tunney, A Cosgrove; E Murphy, R Keane, E Gilraine; D Thornton, E Henry; D Thornton, E Henry; P Heneghan, P Walsh, C Boland; C Mylett, F Irwin, R Morrin. Subs: S Dempsey, C Reid, F Irwin, R Morrin.
Galway: D Halleran; J McGrath, R King, L Teavnan; C Hernon, E Fiorentini, D McNulty; J McLaughlin, D O’Flaherty; E Nolan, D Cox, D Brady; N Grainger, T Culhane, W Seoige. Subs: C Gallagher, N Cunningham, R Burke
Ref: E O’Grady