Eirgrid All-Ireland u20 Football Final
Saturday 19th December, Croke Park, Dublin
Galway 1-11 Dublin 0-13
Galway are this year’s Eirgrid u20 champions. Crucial scores either side of half time saw them build up a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. They were, however, forced to hold on in the final few minutes to see off a dogged Dublin side. The Tribesmen enjoyed the majority of possession but failed to convert territory into scores especially during the first half.
Donal Ó Fatharta’s side gained a measure of revenge for last year’s semi-final defeat to a Dublin side that contained five of the team that lost last year final at this grade to Cork. Both sides got their seasons underway on the 8th February and had numerous disruptions to their respective campaigns.
The sides were evenly matched at the first water break with the scores tied at 0-4 apiece. A brace from both Tomo Culhane and Matthew Tierney accounted for the Galway scores. While Ciaran Archer, Lee Gannon, Mark Lavin and Brian O’Leary were on target for the Dubs.
Galway upped it a gear on the resumption and gained the momentum in the match. They outscored Dublin 0-4 v 0-1 in the run-up to the interval and took a 0-8 v 0-5 lead into the break. Tierney and Culhane added to their earlier efforts, while Matthew Cooley of Corofin also sent over a fine point. Luke Swan mustered up Dublin’s only score of the second quarter.
Half-time: Galway 0-08 Dublin 0-05
On the restart, Tomo Culhane added another point to his tally and Brian O’Leary responded for the Dubs. The games only goal came after a fine burst from Matthew Tierney ended with a neat hand pass across goal to Culhane. The Salthill forward drilled home a low shot which took a deflection off a Dublin defender and flew past Josh O’Neill in the Dublin goal.
That score gave Galway a six-point lead, 1-09 to 0-6. At this stage, it looks like the Tribesmen might cruise to an easy victory. However, Tom Gray’s men showed their mettle to claw their way back into the match. Three points on the spin from Mark Lavin, Lorcan O’Dell and Adam Fearon saw Dublin close the gap to three points prior to the second water break.
The final quarter of the game saw Dublin continue to eat into the Galway lead. Lavin and O’Dell cut the gap to the minimum before Mattew Tierney sent over a free from distance to send Galway into injury time with a two-point lead. Adam Fearon reduced the arrears again as Dublin pushed for a late equaliser. Galway survived a late scare when Josh Bannon was somewhat over-theatrical in falling to the floor under Galway pressure. Referee Paul Faloon waved away Dublin appeals and Galway clung on for a hard-fought win.
Full-time: Galway 1-11 Dublin 0-13
Galway: Tomo Culhane 1-6, Matthew Tierney 0-4 (1f,1m), Matthew Cooley 0-1
Dublin: Mark Lavin 0-4 (1f), Brian O’Leary 0-2, Lorcan O’Dell 0-2, Adam Fearon 0-2, Ciaran Archer 0-1, Lee Gannon 0-1. Luke Swan 0-1.