Galway through to Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Final
Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football semi-final
GALWAY 3-13 MEATH 2-9
By John Harrington at Croke Park
A strong second-half surge from a classy Galway outfit saw them sweep past Meath and into the Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Final.
You get the feeling that many of these Galway youngsters have a very bright future ahead of them such was the quality of football they played.
It was a fine team performance above all else, but players like Aidan Halloran, Paul Kelly, and Cathal Sweeney were particularly impressive.
As the teams felt one another out in the opening minutes, it soon became clear they both had a lot of talent in their respective ranks.
The first player who really caught the eye was Galway wing-back Sweeney who kicked his team’s first three points from play and looked like a class-act with everything he did.
Things weren’t flowing quite as easily for Meath early on, but that changed when they scored the first goal of the match after 14 minutes.
It was a brilliant attacking move that involved all of their inside forwards as David Bell and Luke Kelly combined to put Luke Mitchell clear and the number 15 made no mistake as he thumped a low, hard shot to the net.
Galway’s response to this set-back was impressive, as full-forward Daniel Cox scored a point and then centre-forward Aidan Halloran really roared into the game.
The Salthill youngster kicked two points of the highest quality in quick succession, and whenever he won the ball he moved across the ground with his head up and picked some nice passes.
His second point drew Galway level – 0-6 to 1-3 – but just when it looked like the Westerners were starting to get a grip on the game they suffered a real body-blow when Meath struck for their second-goal.
It didn’t look like much was on when Luke Kelly won the ball wide on the right hand side, but he sped in along the end-line and somehow roofed the ball to the net from a tight angle.
David Bell followed up with a free shortly after, and the Royals took a 2-4 to 0-6 lead into the dressing-room at half-time.
They pushed their advantage out to five points early in the second-half, but then Galway took over completely.
Midfielder Kelly and centre-forward Halloran combined well to set up Eoghan Tinney for their first goal, and they never looked back.
They scored their second goal shortly afterwards through substitute Oisin McCormack and now it was the Connacht side who were leading, 2-7 to 2-6.
Meath briefly drew level when the impressive Mitchell landed a free, but Galway then struck for home when they scored their third goal of the match.
It was another brilliantly executed score too, as Kelly put Tony Gill through and the centre-back curled a beautiful shot low to the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
Galway had their tails up now and points from Conor Raftery, Halloran, Ryan Monahan (2f), and Tomo Culhane saw them finish with a flourish.
Meath played their part in an enjoyable game of football and the quality in their own ranks hints at a bright future for the Royals, but this young Galway side looks like something special.
Scorers for Galway: Aidan Halloran 0-4, Tony Gill 1-0, Oisin McCormack 1-0, Eoghan Tinney 1-0, Cathal Sweeney 0-3, Ryan Monahan 0-2 (2f), Tom Culhane 0-1, Conor Raftery 0-1, Daniel Cox 0-1, Paul Kelly 0-1
Scorers for Meath: Luke Mitchell 1-4 (2f), Luke Kelly 1-0, David Bell 0-2 (2f), Matthew Costello 0-1, Bryan McCormack 0-1, Sean Coffey 0-1.
GALWAY: Donie Halloran; Ethan Walsh, Sean Black, Cian Deane; Ryan Monaghan, Tony Gill, Cathal Sweeney; Liam Judge, Aidan Halloran, Oisin Gormally; Eoghan Tinney, Daniel Cox, Matthew Cooley. Subs: Oisin McCormack for Daniel Cox (ht), Cian Hernon for Liam Judge (33, black-card), Eanna McCormack for Oisin Gormally (40), Tomo Culhane for Matthew Cooley (52), Conor Halbard for Eoghan Tinney (56)
MEATH: Sean Brennan; James O’Hare, Harry O’Higgins, Cathal Hickey; Conor Farrelly, Conor Harford, Sean Coffey; Adam Reilly, Cian McBride; Darragh Swaine, Matthew Costello, Bryan McCormack; David Bell, Luke Kelly, Luke Mitchell. Subs: Colin Hawdon for Bryan McCormack (41), Niall Bennett for Adam Reilly, Brian O’Hanlon for Darragh Swaine, Oisin McCloskey for Conor Farrelly (all 50), Luke Newe for Oisin McCloskey (52), Joseph Moore for Luke Kelly 955)
Ref: Noel Cooney (Cavan)