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The Galway footballers produced a solid workmanlike performance in horrible conditions at Pearse Stadium on Saturday evening to deservedly beat Derry by 1-11 to 0-8 in Round 3B of the qualifiers.
The Galway hurlers take on Cork this Sunday in Semple Stadium (4pm) in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
For a number of Mayo players it was their fifth Connacht title in a row on Sunday in Hyde Park, but for the Mayo management team of Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes it was their first in the senior job. Speaking after the game Noel Connelly said that, “We were pleased with the performance, everybody worked hard and that’s all you can ask of them going out and they delivered in fairness to them and now it’s about moving on to three weeks time.”
Half a decade ago, Mayo were bounced out of the Connacht championship by Sligo in the shadow of Benbulbin, it was one of those bad days for Mayo football where nothing went right.
I thought I was hearing things when I tuned into Midwest radio last Saturday evening to see how our minors were getting on against our bitter rivals Galway. I did not make it to the game because of the lure of what was on TV as I wanted to see how Roscommon would respond after their embarrassing defeat at the hands of Sligo. Mayo’s defeat to Galway by a whopping 17 points has to go down as one of the darkest days in Mayo football at minor level. I do not recall any Mayo minor team taking a pasting of that magnitude.
Diarmuid O'Connor is the only potential doubt for Mayo ahead of their Connacht Senior Football Championship final against Sligo next weekend, but joint Mayo manager Noel Connelly expects the Ballintubber man to get over his fractured wrist in time for the game. Connelly said this week: "Diarmuid O'Connor has a slight hairline fracture on his wrist, he's a x-ray during the week, but all the indications are that he's fine and will be fit to play. But he hasn't been playing contact football with us since the Connacht semi-final, and he hasn't played for Ballintubber in either of the club championship games, but we're hoping to have him this weekend. If not, if the doctors say to be better not to chance him for the [training] game on Sunday we won't, but we're still hoping to have him for selection the next weekend."
After seven years of heartbreaking narrow defeats, Galway secured this year's provincial minor crown, and they did it in style on a 3-14 to 1-3 scoreline.
Armagh are no world beaters, but they are division three league champions, having also been promoted to division two for next season. They beat Fermanagh in the division three final by 0-16 to 0-11.
There was 17 points between these sides at the end and it could have been 27 if Galway had kept up the pace they showed in the first half in the second period. They went in leading by 11 points at the break and had their place in the Connacht final already secured before the final 30 minutes of the contest.
Last Sunday in Croke Park, Kildare booked their place in the final of the Leinster minor championship with a swashbuckling win over Dublin. This was despite the fact the Lillywhites had already been beaten in the championship by Louth back in April. However in Connacht there are no second chances for teams, until the final where both sides are guaranteed a place in the All Ireland quarter-final.