After Saturday evenings chastening defeat in the Gaelic Grounds for their senior side, Galway u20’s gained a small measure of revenge over their neighbours to the north with a convincing 0-16 v 0-10 win in Tuam this evening to lift the EirGrid Connacht u20 football crown.
The new managment team of Padraig Joyce, John Divily and John Concannon had already led their charges to a win in the John Keirns Cup with victories over Dublin, Kerry, Cork and Kildare. Roscommon were dispached in the Connacht semi-final and this evening they were more than a match for Mayo. The success of this managment team and the proximity of Tuam for the traveling Mayo support helped to swell the crowd to over 5,000.
Playing with a moderate wind in the first half Galway led from the start and led by six points at the break, 0-10 v 0-4. Mayo’s Evan O’Brien and Tommy Conroy got the scoring underway, but then Galway settled into the game and points from Liam Costello (who was a late replacement for Michael Collins), Rory Cunningham and Conor Newell saw Galway hit the front.
It was all Galway after this as further scores followed, a brace from Costello and Darragh Silke with three frees and a point from play helped Galway build a cushion to defend against the breeze in the second half. Points from Conroy and Paul Towey were all that Mayo could muster during the last thirty minutes of the first half.
At half-time that wind seem to strenghten, blowing into ‘the town end’ which Mayo would be attacking in the second half and many of the crowd wondered if the home side would be up against it after the break.
However, a strong start to the half from the home side against the elements saw points from Padraig Costello and Liam Costello extend the Galway lead to nine points. Mayo had a mountain to climb at this stage and they responded with a couple of scores from both midfielder Evan O’Brien and half forward Paul Towey.
Matthew Tierney, who played further out the field today than in his previous four games at this grade, converted a late free to leave the full time score reading Galway 0-16 Mayo 0-10.
Galway will now play the winner of the Leinster final between Dublin and Laois in the EirGrid u20 All-Ireland semi-final, which is penciled in for the last weekend in July.
Galway :Oran Burke (Corofin), Ross Mahon (Corofin), Seán Mulkerrin (c) Oileáin Arann, Eoghan McFadden (Salthill/Knocknacarra), Liam Boyle (Kilkerrin/Clonberne), Ciarán Potter (Annaghdown), Jack Kirrane (Milltown), Matthais Barrett (Leitir Mór), Matthew Tierney 0-1(f) (Oughterard) , Liam Costello (Milltown), Gavin Burke (Corofin), Ben O’Connell (Tuam Stars), Darragh Silke 0-5, 4fs(Corofin), Padraig Costello 0-3,2f (Dunmore), Rory Cunningham 0-2 (St.Brendans).
Subs: Jack Glynn for Jack Kirrane, Conor Newell (0-1) for Gavin Burke, Michael Culhane for Ben O’Connell, Eoin Mannion for Padraig Costello, B Harlowe for Culhane and Mikey O’Brien for Liam Costello.
Jamie McNicholas (Kiltimagh), Jack Coyne (Ballyhaunis), Rory Brickenden (Westport), Oisin Mullin (Kilmane), Aaron McDonnell (Ballinrobe), Conor Beirne (Breaffy), Eoghan McLaughlin (Westport), Evan O’Brien 0-4, 3f (Ballinrobe), Gavin Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels), John Gallagher (Mayo Gaels), Paul Towey 0-3 (Charlestown), Paddy Goldrick (Charlestown), Aiden Orme (Knockmore), Stephen McGreal (Claremorris), Tommy Conroy 0-3 (The Neale).
Subs: Nathan Moran for Gallagher, David McBrien for McDonnell, Kuba Callaghan for McGreal, David Gannon for McLaughlin, Ciarán Gavin for Orme.