Mayo players celebrate following a dramatic game at Tuam Stadium.
Mayo players celebrate following a dramatic game at Tuam Stadium.

Mayo win dramatic Electric Ireland Connacht MFC Final

Electric Ireland Connacht Minor Football Championship Final

MAYO 1-18 GALWAY 1-17

After extra-time

By Daragh Small at Tuam Stadium

Frank Irwin scored the winning penalty in the second period of extra-time as Mayo claimed their first Connacht minor football title since 2014.

Donal O’Fatharta’s Galway side had already beaten Mayo 0-15 to 1-9 earlier in the round robin phase. But the teams were level 0-9 to 0-9 at half-time in normal time and Tomo Culhane’s late leveller sent it to extra-time.

Culhane scored a penalty, but that was cancelled out by Irwin and Mayo took the bragging rights.

It only took 54 seconds for Culhane to register his first point from a free. That was subsequently cancelled out by Frank Irwin in the second minute.

The Salthill-Knocknacarra full-forward created a couple of goal opportunities for Evan Nolan and Nathan Grainger, and neither were converted.

But Nolan did score a point while James McLaughlin landed the 45, following Luke Jennings’ great save from Grainger.

Culhane had tapped over his second point after Ethan Henry scored a Mayo 45, but Galway were 0-5 to 0-2 in front when Daniel Cox found the range at the end of the first quarter.

Ray Walsh failed to make the most of his goal-scoring chance and that was punished when Culhane scored his third point, and second from a free.

Mayo’s route one ball was being closed down time and again, and although they had the breeze at their backs they failed to make their chances pay.

But Mayo finally caught fire between the 21st and 31st minutes, where they scored seven points, to Culhane’s lone effort up the other end.

Ciaran Mylett began the run of scores with Henry and Dylan Thornton adding efforts. Culhane scored the reprieve, but Mayo hit four in-a-row.

This time Irwin, Mylett, substitute Ray Morrin and Shaun Dempsey got forward to score.

Mayo looked set to take the lead into half-time, but Culhane fired two crucial frees and the teams were deadlocked, 0-9 to 0-9, at the interval.

Galway had the dream start to the second half with full-back Ruairí King waltzing his way through the defence and scoring a point, and then Nathan Grainger’s long shot bounced over Luke Jennings’ crossbar.

Aidan Cosgrave was shown a black card, but Mayo were back level through Henry six minutes later and although Galway took a 0-13 to 0-11, and then 0-14 to 0-12 lead, points from Eoin Gilraine and Henry drew the sides level with six minutes remaining.

Henry scored what looked to be a clinching 45 in the 64th minute, but Culhane kept his nerve to tie the game at 0-15 to 0-15 and the game went to extra-time.

John Grady scored on the resumption but Daniel Cox replied and Warren Seoige pointed before Niall Cunningham was dragged down by Emmet Murphy.

Culhane blasted the penalty low into the bottom left corner and Galway were 1-17 to 0-16 ahead after 66 minutes. Dylan Thornton scored the final point of the first period and Galway were a goal in front at the break.

Paul Walsh scored his first point at the start of the final period and then he was fouled by McLaughlin for the penalty, with Irwin applying the finishing touches from the spot.

Scorers for Mayo: Ethan Henry 0-6 (3 45s), Frank Irwin 1-2 (1-0 pen), Ciaran Mylett 0-2, Rory Morrin 0-2, Dylan Thornton 0-2, Shaun Dempsey 0-1, Eoin Gilraine 0-1, John Grady 0-1, Paul Walsh 0-1.

Scorers for Galway: Tomo Culhane 1-9 (1-0 pen, 7fs), Daniel Cox 0-2, Evan Nolan 0-1, James McLaughlin 0-1 (45), Ruairí King 0-1, Nathan Grainger 0-1, Dylan Brady 0-1, Warren Seoige 0-1.

MAYO: Luke Jennings; Owen McHale, Oisin Tunney, Aidan Cosgrove; Shaun Dempsey, Ruairi Keane, Eoin Gilraine; Paddy Heneghan, Ethan Henry; Ciaran Mylett, Ronan Hughes, Dylan Thornton; Paul Walsh, Ray Walsh, Frank Irwin.

Subs: Rory Morrin for Hughes (25), John Grady for R Walsh (36), Emmet Murphy for Cosgrave (43, BC), Cian O’Connor for Mylett (53), Conor Reid for Heneghan (59), Mylett for O’Connor (72), Hughes for Morrin (80).

GALWAY: Donie Halleran; Jonathan McGrath, Ruairí King, Liam Tevnan; Cian Hernon, Ethan Fiorentini, Daniel McNulty; James McLaughlin, Daniel O Flaherty; Evan Nolan, Daniel Cox, Dylan Brady; Nathan Grainger, Tomo Culhane, Warren Seoige.

Subs: Reece Burke for O Flaherty (46), Niall Cunningham for Grainger (46), D Kennedy for McNulty (51), Shane McGrath for Cox (56), Conall Gallagher for Brady (59), Cox for McGrath (60), Alan Naughton for Nolan (70), James Webb for Kennedy (70), N Grainger for Hernon (79).

REFEREE: Patrick McTiernan (Roscommon).