The Mayo juniors picked up what the county will hope is the first of a few Connacht titles this year in style in Sunday in Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada against Galway. Sean McLoughlin’s side edged out Galway in a free flowing contest that saw both sides play open and attractive attacking football. Killala’s Andrew Farrell struck the all important goal 18 minutes into the first half when he finished from close range after Belmullet’s Eoin O’Donoghue went on a ranging run through the heart of the Galway defence. The wing backs strike for goal came back off the underside of the crossbar into the waiting arms of Farrell who made no mistake when the chance presented itself. Mayo had to deal with the loss of their captain Cathal Freeman who wasn’t able to make the game after picking up an injury in a club game last weekend, but that loss didn’t phase them.
Galway started the game brightly and were 0-4 to 0-2 up after 12 minutes, with three of those scores coming from the boot of Peter Cooke from dead balls close in. Mayo’s scores came from a free from Damien McGing and a nice point from play from the boot of Farrell. Galway stretched out their lead to four points over the next three minutes with Cooke pointing another free and Paul Wheelman chipping in with one from play. A Darren Durcan point closed the gap to three after 17 minutes and a minute later Farrell’s goal had it all square.
Mayo went on to add on three more points in the next seven minutes with McGing adding two more pointed frees and Darren McHugh fisting one over from close range to put Mayo three clear. The Tribesmen weren’t going to wilt that easy though and two points from frees from Paul Whelehan and one from midfielder Enda Tierney had the game all square at the break.
Tierney landed the first point of the second half to put Galway into the lead with a fine point after he was played in by Johnny Heaney. Mayo responded with a Conor Horan point and then Tierney and Farrell traded points to leave the sides level once more. Points from McGing and Sean Gaughan put Mayo into a two point lead with 17 minutes left on the clock, a lead they never let slip over the remainder of the game. Senior panelist Michéal Forde put Mayo three clear and another score from Darragh Joyce made the gap four with nine minutes left on the clock. Galway tagged on two more points before the end, but it wasn’t enough as Mayo held on to claim the title.
Mayo: A Farrell (1-2, 145 ), D McGing (0-4, 4f ), D Durcan (0-1 ), D McHugh (0-1 ), D Joyce (0-1 ), C Horan (0-1 ), S Gaughan (0-1 ), M Forde (0-1 )
Galway: P Whelehan (0-4, 2f ), P Cooke (0-3, 3f ), E Tierney (0-3 ), R Fahy (0-1 ), M Reddington (0-1 ), P E Seoighe (0-1 )
Mayo: B Forkan; P Barrett, B Moran, B Leonard; E O’Donoghue, D McHugh, M Barrett; P Collins, P Ferrick; G Conway, M Togher, D Durcan; D McGing, A Farrell, D Joyce. Subs: S Gaughan for G Conway, C Horan for M Barrett, A Gallagher for D Durcan, M Forde for D McGing, J Keane for E O’Donoghue, K Newell for C Horan.
Galway: M Dolan; A Claffey, A Kyne, C Ó’Domhnaill; J Heaney, J Shaughessy, P Seoighe; E Tierney, E Commins; R Fahy, P Cooke, M Reddington; A Hernon, P Whelehan, C Kennedy. Subs: M Day for C Ó’Domhnaill, N Walsh for R Fahy, F Cooney for M Reddington, M Fox for C Kennedy, T Mullins for E Commins.
Ref: P Daly (Roscommon )