Over in the far corner of the field in Tuam on Saturday evening, the Mayo minor panel were involved in their warm down, while the Galway panel stood and sat around on the grass wondering what had just happened. The Mayo minor manager, Enda Gilvarry was just after watching his side battle their way to what looked a times to be an improbable victory and was a happy man. “Heart stopping stuff again” were the first words out of his mouth when asked his feelings on the game. It's the second year in a row his minor team have seen off Galway in dramatic fashion in the Connacht championship, as for him being worried in the build up to the game, Gilvarry was honest about having some fears. “To be honest, I was worried coming, Galway are an extremely good team, they were playing on their home patch, they took the game to us and really showed us up. I think the fact that they had a game last week was a benefit to them. It took us a long time to settle by when we did, we were there or there abouts. But we had to pull back a fairly significant lead.”
Mayo got a couple of breaks in the game to swing it in their favour, but it wasn't just luck that won them the game he said. “We got a break when we got the penalty, but maybe we looked before that we could sneak inside and get a goal before, it was those that kept us in touch. I honestly thought it was a harsh sending off, but I was grateful for it. It was unfortunate on the young man, but that's the way it goes that's sport. I'm lucky to have an excellent management team and a bunch of young guys who work very hard, everyone works and I think we got the fruits of that today.”
Gilvarry kept faith with his players and his management team during the game, because he said he knew his team would come good at some stage against a team who'd come into the game with the advantage of having a championship game under their belts to bolster their preparation. “I think a little bit of that and their ability and huge strength, we lost a lot of ball in tackle, but look, our guys stuck to the task, I knew they would, I know our guys would come strong at some stage and they did and we were always going to get a purple patch and we sneaked ahead in the last few minutes.”As for where Mayo stand now as the season opens up in front of them and a place in the last eight in All Ireland is already assured, he's not looking that far ahead yet. “Quite simply we're in a Connacht final and this game gives us a gateway to the All Ireland quarter-final, but we're a long way from anything bar a Connacht final. Today was the gateway to the rest of the season, the leaving cert is over us, bar club football all other obstacles are out of our way.”
When that gateway was found last year, Gilvarry brought Mayo all the way to All Ireland glory in Croke Park and after his side got over a massive hurdle in the shape of Galway on Saturday evening, whose to say that gateway won't lead to the same destination again.