Jordan Flynn and Mattie Ruane, Mayo, and Matthew Tierney and John Maher, Galway, in Connacht FBD League action.
Jordan Flynn and Mattie Ruane, Mayo, and Matthew Tierney and John Maher, Galway, in Connacht FBD League action.

Connacht FBD League: Mayo survive late Galway rally

Connacht FBD League Semi-Final

Mayo 2-18 Galway 3-12

By Cian O’Connell at the University of Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome

Ultimately Mayo survived a defiant comeback mission to set up a Connacht FBD League decider against Roscommon on Friday evening.

A fluid match unfolded with Mayo dictating the agenda in the opening period, but Galway, prompted by two goals from substitute Tomo Culhane, thundered into the reckoning after the restart.

Trailing by 10 points at the turnaround Galway narrowed the gap to two late on with another replacement Nathan Grainger denied by a fine Rory Byrne save.

The green and red, though, responded with Bob Tuohy drilling over the insurance point to seal victory.

Initially Mayo’s hard working forwards forced turnovers in the opening period as Kevin McStay’s charges were eager to make an impact early on.

Level at the end of the first quarter, 0-4 each, following a second Johnny Heaney point for Galway, the green and red subsequently took control.

During an industrious burst Mayo reeled off 1-4 on the spin to seize the initiative as a lively attack caused Galway plenty of bother.

Bryan Walsh and Aiden Orme struck points before Mayo planted a goal as Paul Towey rattled the Galway net following a Mattie Ruane delivery.

Orme and Towey stretched Mayo’s advantage further – 1-8 to 0-4 – before Galway terminated a 15 minute search for a score courtesy of a Barry McHugh free.

Then James Carr mined 1-1 as the interval approached, clipping an opportunistic goal as a dynamic Mayo departed 2-9 to 0-5 ahead.

That Mayo converted 2-9 from 14 scoring attempts illustrated their efficiency with Galway only landing 0-5 from 13.

Padraic Joyce made four changes at the interval and by the 44th minute Galway had reduced the margin significantly.

Bryan Walsh nudged Mayo 11 clear, but Galway kicked 1-3 without reply including a 44th minute major from Culhane.

Suddenly Galway were only 2-10 to 1-8 behind, but Mayo replied with Walsh, Towey, and Carr all productive up front.

Mayo led 2-17 to 1-11 with eight minutes remaining, but a couple of Galway goals from Matthew Tierney and Culhane either side of a Damien Comer point had the maroon outfit very much in the reckoning.

Byrne made an important intervention near the end as Mayo prevailed. The Allianz Football League opener in Castlebar on January 28 should be interesting.

Scorers for Mayo: Paul Towey 1-4 (2fs), James Carr 1-2, Aiden Orme 0-5 (1f), Bryan Walsh 0-3, Fionn McDonagh, Mattie Ruane, Bob Tuohy, and Kuba Callaghan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Galway: Tomo Culhane 2-2, Matthew Tierney 1-0, Johnny Heaney 0-3, Rob Finnerty and Barry McHugh (1f) 0-2 each, Cathal Sweeney, John Maher, and Damien Comer 0-1 each.

Mayo: Rory Byrne; Jack Coyne, Rory Brickenden, Sam Callinan; Fenton Kelly, Stephen Coen, Donnacha McHugh; Mattie Ruane, Jordan Flynn; Fionn McDonagh, Bob Tuohy, Bryan Walsh; Aiden Orme, James Carr, Paul Towey.

Subs: Kuba Callaghan for McDonagh (59), Gavin Durcan for Carr (61), Conor Dunleavy for Kelly (67), Connell Dempsey for Walsh (69), Fenton Kelly for Coyne (69), Ronan Carolan for Towey (70).

Galway: Bernard Power; Seán Fitzgerald, Billy Mannion, James Foley; Cathal Sweeney, Dylan McHugh, Daniel O’Flaherty; John Maher, Matthew Barrett; Dylan Canney, Matthew Tierney, Johnny Heaney; Rob Finnerty, Ian Burke, Barry McHugh.

Subs: Paul Kelly for Barrett (HT), Evan Murphy for Canney (HT), Eoghan Kelly for Foley (HT), Tomo Culhane for McHugh (HT), Jack Kirrane for Sweeney (53), James McLoughlin for Maher (57), Damien Comer for Fitzgerald (61), Nathan Grainger for Burke (69), Brian Mannion for O’Flaherty (69).

Referee: Barry Judge (Sligo).