Galway advance following penalty drama
Connacht FBD League Semi-Final
GALWAY 1-9 MAYO 1-9
By Cian O'Connell at Tuam Stadium
Galway win 4-2 on penalties
Even in mid January intrigue and passion will always be attached when these neighbours collide so unsurprisingly this game didn’t disappoint as Galway advanced to another Connacht FBD League decider following a penalty shoot out win.
Mayo were on the verge of a first triumph over Galway since 2015, but Barry McHugh’s late goal forced a penalty shootout and the maroon and white custodian Maghnus Breathnach, busy preparing for an AIB All Ireland Club Intermediate Semi-Final with An Spideal, made the decisive saves.
Diarmuid O’Connor and Andy Moran were both denied by sharp Brethnach stops and though Brian Reape and James Kelly converted for Mayo the home outfit converted four.
Liam Silke, Johnny Heaney, Barry McHugh, and Tom Flynn rattled the Mayo net so Galway can now look forward to another pre Allianz League encounter against Roscommon next weekend.
Mayo dictated the agenda for the majority of the opening period with Jason Doherty dashing about impressively in attack.
The chief worry, though, for Mayo was the fact that they only converted 1-5 from 14 attempts against Galway, who only registered 0-3 from nine.
It meant Mayo, who were backed by a decent breeze in the opening period, went in protecting a five point interval advantage which scarcely reflected their supremacy.
With Galway under duress Mayo reeled off four points without reply in the opening 14 minutes as Conor Diskin, Doherty (2), and Brian Reape all found the range.
Galway eventually registered a score in the 18th minute courtesy of a John Daly free, but Mayo were 0-5 to 0-2 ahead when pouncing for a goal.
It owed much to Doherty’s opportunism as the Burrishoole attacker gathered a Michael Plunkett delivery before supplying a crisp finish.
Barry McHugh responded with his second free, but Mayo’s 1-5 to 0-3 half-time cushion was fairly healthy with Galway completely aware that significant improvement was necessary.
Galway did enjoy some encouraging moments when the action recommenced, but, crucially Mayo were still landing vital scores.
A couple of Doherty frees were sandwiched either side of two Galway points from McHugh, while Diskin subsequently landed an effort for Mayo.
Once more Galway came thundering back as John Daly and a McHugh ’45 left only a goal dividing the teams with 12 minutes remaining.
Reape, prominent throughout, and Galway substitute Michael Daly traded points as Mayo were protecting the lead with admirable determination.
In the closing stages Galway carved chances, but didn’t take one until deep into stoppage time when replacements Eoghan Kerin and Michael Daly made splendid interventions prior to Barry McHugh’s equalising goal.
Then the penalty drama unfolded as Breathnach assumed centre stage.
Scorers for Galway: Barry McHugh 1-6 (4fs, 145), John Daly 0-2 (1f), Michael Daly 0-1.
Scorers for Mayo: Jason Doherty 1-4 (4fs), Brian Reape 0-3, Conor Diskin 0-2 (1m).
GALWAY: Maghnus Breathnach; Declan Kyne, Sean Andy O’Ceallaigh, Liam Silke; Kieran Molloy, John Daly, Dylan Wall; Ciaran Duggan, Tom Flynn; Cillian McDaid, Michael Farragher, Johnny Heaney; Frankie Burke, Michael Boyle, Barry McHugh.
Subs: Peter Cooke for Duggan (HT), Sean Kelly for Molloy (42), Michael Daly for Farragher (50), Gary O’Donnell for Wall (52), Eoghan Kerin for John Daly (61).
MAYO: Rob Hennelly; Keith Higgins, Brendan Harrison, David Drake; Colm Boyle, Michael Plunkett, James McCormack; Donal Vaughan, Diarmuid O’Connor; Fionn McDonagh, Conor Loftus, Fergal Boland; Conor Diskin, Brian Reape, Jason Doherty.
Subs: Andy Moran for Loftus (HT), Conor O’Shea for Boland (48), Stephen Coen for McCormack (54), Lee Keegan for Doherty (63), James Kelly for Drake (70+3).
REFEREE: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon).
ROSCOMMON 2-18 SLIGO 1-16
Roscommon produced a strong second half display to defeat Sligo at Dr Hyde Park.
Despite trailing 1-10 to 1-6 at the interval Anthony Cunningham's first match in charge culminated in victory.
Shane Killoran and Niall Murphy swapped goals, but Paul Taylor's outfit led at the break.
The complexion of the game changed after the restart when Roscommon scored 1-4 without reply including an Enda Smith goal.
In the dying minutes Roscommon substitute Colin Compton fired over three points as the home team advanced to the decider against Galway.