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Allianz National Football league, Division 1
Sunday 18th October, Tuam Stadium
Galway 0-17 Mayo 3-23
With the Spector of relegation by their arch-rivals hanging over this Mayo side, James Horan’s men produced a scintillating opening half of football and laid a platform for a crucial win.
Conor Loftus put them ahead with a point straight from the throw-in. A brace of frees from Cillian O’Connor extended their lead to three points within as many minutes. A further sign that it wasn’t going to be Galway’s day came when Daimen Comer pulled up with a hamstring injury after just 3 minutes. Michael Daly came on in his place as an early substitute. Within minutes Johnny Duane had also to be replaced by Gary O’Donnell.
Liam Silke fired over Galway’s opening point when the goal appeared to be at his mercy. Aidan O’Shea boomed over another Mayo point before Mark Moran found the back of the Galway net on 12 minutes. A couple frees from Robert Finnerty and a brace of Paul Conroy points, as well as a fisted effort from Gary O’Donnell, kept Galway in contention.
Mark Moran, who was making his first start for Mayo, was certainly making an impression with 1-2 during the opening twenty minutes. Conor Loftus and Aidan O’Shea were dominating around the middle and scores where coming from a number of sources.
Paddy Durcan popped up on the end of superb team move on 25 minutes to fire in Mayo’s second goal. By that stage, the men in green and red held a nine-point lead. Galway 0-07 Mayo 2-10.
A brace of Cillian O’Connor frees pushed them further ahead before the break as they threatened to run riot. Aidan O’Shea and three more from Cillian O’Connor (two from play and a free) added further scores as the one-way traffic continued in the run-up to half time. By the time Tommy Conroy added a score in first-half stoppage time Mayo had hit 1-8 without reply and were out of sight with a sixteen point lead.
Half-time: Galway 0-07 Mayo 2-17
Cillian McDaid got the opening point of the second half, but this was answered immediately by Tommy Conroy. Robert Finnerty added another pointed free and his Mayo counterpart Cillian O’Connor matched it with a placed ball of his own. Finnerty then added another point from play and Adrian Varley added another Galway point as they attempted to reduce the margin to a more respectable deficit.
Cillian O’Connor brought Mayo’s tally to 2-20 with another free. This score also brought his personal tally to ten points (8 frees). Galway’s Cillian McDaid got his second of the half after a one-two with his midfield partner Tom Flynn. Robert Finnerty boomed over a free from all of 45 yards, however, Mayo found the net for the third time with an all too easy goal. Galway goalkeeper Conor Gleeson lost out to Conor Loftus competing for a high ball and Loftus fired home. This was the last score before the water break.
Paul Conroy added another Galway score then Aidan O’Shea responded with a Mayo point. Darren Coen punished Conor Gleeson for a stray kick out as he fly-hacked the ball over the bar. Galway’s heads didn’t drop however and a Robert Finnerty pointed free and a fine Liam Silke effort cut the gap.
Tommy Conroy was denied a fourth goal after cutting in from the wing and blasting the ball goalwards. However, on this occasion, Conor Gleeson in the Galway goal produced a fine save to deny him.
Paddy Durcan added another to ensure the gap was 16 points as it was at the break. Matthias Barrett got Galway 17th point, which on another day would be enough of a tally to win. It was their porous defence that will be the focus of Padraig Joyce’s attention as Galway are due to host Dublin next weekend, before facing Sligo in the opening round of the Connacht championship. Mayo face Tyrone next weekend with their fate now in their own hands.
Full-time: Galway 0-17 Mayo 3-23
Galway: 1.Conor Gleeson, 2.Conor Campbell, 3.Sean Andy Ó Ceallaigh, 4.Johnny Heaney, 5.Liam Silke (0-2), 6. Johnny Duane (replaced by 19.Gary O’Donnell on 10mins), 7. Cillian McDaid (0-2), 8. Cien D’Arcy (0-1)(Matthias Barrett on 58), 9. John Maher (21.Tom Flynn at HT), 10.Eammon Brannigan (23.Adrian Varley 30mins – 0-1), 26. Damien Comer (started by replaced by 11.Michael Daly on 4mins), 12. Jason Leonard, 13.Robert Finnerty (0-7, 6f), 14.Ian Burke, 15.Paul Conroy (0-3).
Mayo: 1.David Clarke, 2.Oisin Mullin, 3.David McBrien (Padraig O’Hora 51), 4.Lee Keegan, 5.Paddy Durcan (1-2), 6.Stephen Coen (0-1, 1m), 7.Eoghan McLaughlin, 8.Matthew Ruane (Jordan Flynn 64), 9.Conor Loftus (1-2,1m), 10.Fionn McDonagh (Brian Walsh 44mins), 11.Mark Moran (1-2), 12. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ryan O’Donoghue 55), 13. Tommy Conroy (0-3), 14.Aidan O’Shea (0-3), 15.Cillian O’Connor (10, 8f)(Darren Coen 55).