Connacht FBD League: Galway win penalty shootout
Connacht FBD League Semi-Final
GALWAY 1-17 MAYO 1-17
Galway win 3-2 on penalties
By Cian O'Connell at Elverys MacHale Park
Regardless of the time of year a certain fascination will always exist when Mayo and Galway collide, so a curious crowd gathered at Castlebar.
Sub-plots were available with Padraic Joyce taking charge of Galway for the first time as both camps carried out experiments ahead of the Allianz Football League in a fortnight.
A penalty shootout was necessary to determine Roscommon’s opponents with Liam Costello’s point in the 15th minute of additional time concluding Galway’s comeback.
Unfortunate injuries to Johnny Heaney and Fiontan O Curraoin in either half were blows for Galway, who did summon a courageous revival when behind by six points late on.
Debutant goalkeeper Connor Gleeson made penalty saves from Fergal Boland and Gary Boylan, while Brian Walsh struck the woodwork as Galway’s Shane Walsh, Damien Comer, and Tom Flynn converted.
Ultimately the opening period was surprisingly loose and open perfectly illustrated by the amount of chances fashioned by Mayo and Galway.
The green and red did depart armed with a slender 0-9 to 0-8 advantage with wing forwards Brian Walsh and Jordan Flynn supplying points.
Mayo’s 0-9 first half total arrived from 18 shots compared to Galway’s 0-8 from 14 with James Horan’s charges responding following a shaky start.
With Galway captain Shane Walsh providing some glimpses of style and skill Galway did edge 0-4 to 0-1 in front by the ninth minute, but Mayo’s response was impressive.
Walsh and Flynn clipped some tidy scores, while the returning Tom Parsons mined a 24th minute score under the stand which drew a passionate roar from the locals.
That Parsons effort came during a Mayo burst of four unanswered Mayo scores with the game moving along at a reasonable clip.
Before the break Galway did restore parity at 0-8 each, but Conor Loftus lofted a free ensuring Mayo led at the turnaround by the narrowest of margins.
After the restart Galway clipped five of the first six points to move three ahead with Walsh and Varley prominent.
Still, though, Mayo remained defiant and during the 10 minute sin binning of Galway’s Cillian McDaid they outfoxed Galway by 1-2 to 0-1.
Brian Reape manufactured the opportunity for Kevin McLoughlin, who punched the ball over the advancing Conor Gleeson.
It was a neat cameo from McLoughlin and suddenly Mayo were buoyed up as Walsh, substitute Fergal Boland (two), and Reape (two) nailed points to nudge them 1-16 to 0-13 clear.
Twelve minutes of stoppage time were required with Galway trimming the deficit when Varley reacted sharply to rattle the Mayo net when replacement Johnny Duane’s attempt was thwarted by Robert Hennelly.
Walsh subsequently fired over two frees as Galway moved to within of Mayo once more with the promising Liam Costello forcing a shoot-out when drilling the equaliser.
Gleeson emerged as a key protagonist for Galway, who now face Roscommon in the Connacht FBD League Final for the sixth year in a row.
In the other semi-final encounter at Avantcard Pairc Sean MacDiarmada Roscommon proved far too strong for Leitrim.
Anthony Cunningham's charges won by 7-16 to 0-7 with Noel Gately, Andrew Glennon (two), Enda Smith (two), Finbar Cregg (two) all bagging goals.
Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-9 (6fs), Adrian Varley 1-3, Michael Daly 0-2, Mikey Boyle, Paul Conroy, and Liam Costello 0-1 each.
Scorers for Mayo: Brian Reape 0-5 (1f), Kevin McLoughlin 1-2, Brian Walsh 0-3, Fergal Boland, Jordan Flynn and Conor Loftus (2fs) 0-2 each, Tom Parsons 0-1.
GALWAY: Connor Gleeson; Johnny Heaney, Gary O’Donnell, Colin Murray; Eamon Brannigan, John Daly, Cillian McDaid; Tom Flynn, Fiontan O Curraoin; Patrick Kelly, Michael Daly, Mikey Boyle; Adrian Varley, Shane Walsh, Paul Conroy.
Subs: Johnny Duane for Heaney (23), Maitias O Baireid for O Curraoin (40), Liam Costello for Kelly (55), Damien Comer for M Daly (69), Sean Kelly for Brannigan (70+7).
MAYO: Robert Hennelly; James Stretton, James McCormack, Brendan Harrison; Padraig O’Hora, Michael Plunkett, Paddy Durcan; Tom Parsons, Mikey Murray; Brian Walsh, Conor Loftus, Jordan Flynn; Kevin McLoughlin, Brian Reape, Diarmuid O’Connor.
Subs: Fergal Boland for Loftus (58), Colm Boyle for Stretton (60), Gary Boylan for O’Connor (70+2), Liam Irwin for Reape (70+9), David Kenny for McCormack (70+12).
REFEREE: Patrick Guckian (Leitrim).