A moment of quality in this contest saw Mayo claim their second Connacht junior title in as many years in Carrick-on-Shannon on Sunday afternoon. After a slow paced first half where Mayo went in leading by 0-5 to 0-4 thanks to the accuracy from Darren Coen’s placed balls, the second half had more excitement for the crowds who made their way to the Leitrim capital.
It took eight minutes for the first score to arrive through the boot of Galway goalkeeper Bernard Power who drove over 45 with his second attempt of the day from that distance, Coen levelled it up two minutes later with the first of his seven points of the day. That was followed by a neat score from Matthew Reddington after he was played in by Alan Kyne. Coen kicked his second point of the day just after the quarter-of-an-hour mark and he clipped over two more in the next ten minutes to have Mayo leading 0-4 to 0-2. That lead was stretched out to three points just before the end of normal time in the half when Andrew Farrell hooked over a speculative effort from the right wing.
Galway did come strong in injury time and added on two more points to their total through the boot of Antaine O’Laoi and one from Eric Lee to leave the bare minimum between the sides at the median whistle.
Galway had gone into a one point lead when Darren Coen picked the ball up in the left corner forward position and he did well to round his man and pick out Kiltimagh’s Ronan Mallee who was clear in on goal and the Mayo number 13 finished well to the net to put Mayo 1-6 to 0-7 up.
Galway hit back straight away and points from an Antaine O’Laoi free and one from wing forward Sean Kelly (both teams had a Sean Kelly in their side and both of them wore the number 12 jersey for their side ) had the game all tied up.
With 45 minutes gone on the stop watch, Mayo went back into the lead thanks to a classy point from Michael Forde who was set up for the score by a neat pass by Mallee. The title was up for grabs now and Galway responded once more and points from the impressive Matthew Reddington and another O’Laoi free put them them a point clear with ten minutes to go.
Westport’s Gary Keane launched over a fine score from out the park to pull Mayo level once more nine minutes from time, just before he was replaced by Adam Gallagher and the Mayo Gaels man would play a pivotal role later own down the track in this contest. Galway eked back in front again through an Eric Lee score seven minutes from time, but Mayo we’re going to let this one slip form their grasps.
Gallagher picked out Coen with a great ball on 54 minutes and Coen slipped the ball between the uprights and it was level once again. Two minutes from time Mallee kicked Mayo in front after he was picked out with a great pass by Coen and the Hollymount-Carramore man made the game safe right on 60 minutes with a free from close range after Robert Holian’s run was upended 35 meters from goal.
Mayo: D Coen (0-7, 6f ), R Mallee (1-1 ), A Farrell (0-1 ), M Forde (0-1 ), G Keane (0-1 )
Galway: M Reddington (0-4. 1f ), A O’Laoi (0-4, 2f ), E Lee (0-2 ), B Power (0-1, 1 45’ ), S Kelly (0-1 )
Mayo: S Nallen; E O’Donoghue, N Freeman, S Guaghan; C Reape, P Ferrick, J Kelly; P Collins, G Keane; M Togher, M Forde, S Kelly; R Mallee, A Farrell, D Coen. Subs: K Gibbons for S Kelly (39 ), A Gallagher for G Keane (51 ), R Hollian for P Collins (51 ), T Carmody for M Togher (56 )
Galway: B Power; C Reilly; T Comer, A Claffey; W Finnerty, A Kyne, D Wynee; A Molloy, P Walsh; F Cooney, M Reddington, S Kelly; E Lee, A O’Laoi, N Lee. Subs: L O’Ceallaigh for T Comer (11 ), A O’hIarnain for N Lee (38 )
Ref: B Judge (Sligo )