Goals from Cian Connolly and Brian Stack in each half saw Kevin McStay lead Roscommon to their first Connacht title in seven years as they avenged last year’s 11-point final defeat with a classy showing at Pearse Stadium.
Roscommon dominated from the first minute and only allowed Galway brief moments of supremacy, while an ugly late brawl in injury-time saw Micheal Lundy and Damien Comer sent off and Paul Conroy black carded.
Roscommon’s goalscorer Connolly was also sent off when he earned a yellow card, but after his side claimed a first win over either Mayo or Galway since 2001 it mattered not a jot to the Roscommon supporters in the 18,287 crowd, who flooded onto the pitch at full-time.
In their semi-final romp against Leitrim, the Roscommon forwards showed they were in a rich vein of form and they showed their Galway markers the same class in the early stages.
Ciaráin Murtagh pointed the first score of the game exactly a minute into the action, and with huge pressure on the Galway kickouts, Diarmuid Murtagh doubled the lead, before an off-the-ball foul by Declan Kyne on Connolly saw Ciaráin Murtagh on target again.
It was a rampant start from last year’s runners-up, but Galway finally made an impact on the scoreboard when Shane Walsh slotted a free from the ground following a foul on Damien Comer, who was double-marked any time the ball came in his direction.
The success that the Roscommon inside forward line were having continued though and they reeled off three points in two minutes – a free each from the two Murtagh brothers and a fine long range effort from Conor Devaney from distance in the 12th minute.
While Roscommon had a handful of in-form forwards Walsh was Galway’s sole threat and he curled over a love point to make to 0-06 to 0-02 after 14 minutes.
But, crucially, the next score came to Roscommon. It was Diarmuid Murtagh that picked out Connolly, isolated inside on his marker Cathal Sweeney, and Connolly’s finish to the net was controlled as he rolled the ball into the bottom corner for a seven-point lead after 14 minutes.
As the weather conditions worsened, so too did the quality of football on show. There was little sympathy from referee David Gough either, who fired out five yellow cards before the interval – some of them were very questionable.
Nine minutes from the interval, Galway came within the width of the post to a goal of their own when Michael Daly found himself on the end of a slick move, but after Diarmuid Murtagh’s third point, Walsh’s second free meant a 1-07 to 0-03 lead was Roscommon’s at half-time.
Nine first-half wides were a blight on Roscommon’s opening 35 and when Walsh and Comer added two quick points for the home side that slack shooting was punished.
But, six minutes after the break, Roscommon struck for a second goal. A mark was awarded to Brian Stack when he claimed a Galway kickout, but he continued on his powerful run, which ended in controlled finish low to Ruairi Lavelle’s right.
That goal put Roscommon 2-08 to 0-05 ahead and Galway looked dead and buried, but an impressive five points in four minutes saw Galway pull within four points.
But three of the next four scores were kicked by Roscommon to settle their nerves and it was left to sub Shane Killoran to kick the last point as McStay’s men claimed the title for the first time since 2010.
Roscommon: C Lavin; D Murray, N McInerney, S McDermott; C Devaney (0-02), S Mullooly, J McManus; T O’Rourke, E Smith; F Cregg, N Kilroy, B Stack (1-00); C Murtagh (0-03, 0-02f), D Murtagh (0-05, 0-03f), C Connolly (1-01).
Subs used: G Patterson for Murray (35+1-half-time blood), I Kilbride for Cregg (48 mins), D Smith (0-02, 0-01f) for D Murtagh (53 inj.), Colin Compton for C Murtagh (65), R Stack for Kilroy (70), S Killoran (0-01) for B Stack (75).
Galway: R Lavelle; C Sweeney, D Kyne, E Kerin; G O’Donnell (0-01), G Bradshaw, L Silke; P Conroy (0-02, 0-01f), F Ó Curraoin; T Flynn, E Brannigan, J Heaney; M Daly (0-01), D Comer (0-02), S Walsh (0-06, 0-04f).
Subs used: G Sice for Heaney (half-time), D Cummins for Brannigan (half-time), M Lundy for Flynn (60), E Tierney for Ó Curraoin (65), D Wynne for Conroy (75 BC).
Referee: David Gough (Meath).
Kevin Walsh’s Galway cruised to victory over Donegal to book an All Ireland Quarter-Final date against Kerry.
Galway bounced back emphatically as Johnny Heaney kicked 2-2 and Liam Silke and Danny Cummins scored their other goals in a massive win at Markievicz Park in Sligo.
They advance to face Kerry now after beating a poor Donegal side despite having Declan Kyne sent-off in the second-half. Donegal had three of their players black carded and it was a disastrous outing for them as they finished up their campaign.
Galway made a brilliant start and two quick points from Sean Armstrong and Shane Walsh gave them the early ascendency.
Michael Murphy kicked two points in the fourth and sixth minutes to tie the game up before Armstrong cancelled those out with two more of his own – the Salthill/Knocknacarra clubman was a late inclusion instead of Eamonn Brannigan for Galway.
Donegal took the lead for the first time after three points in a row by Paddy McBrearty (twice), and Michael Murphy, but Galway came alive in the second-quarter.
Galway hit 3-5 before the break while Micheal Murphy and substitute Martin McElhinney had the only reprieve for Donegal. Meanwhile Galway blitzed their opponents with Heaney fisting their first goal in the 18th minute.
Galway got their second goal in the 26th minute and it was a massive turning point when Liam Silke fired home their penalty.
Donegal goalkeeper Marc Anthony McGinley got a black card when he tripped Tom Flynn and the Corofin clubman made no mistake from the resultant penalty.
Donegal were down and out at that stage and Galway got their third goal before half-time when Heaney fisted home his second.
It was 3-9 to 0-7 in favour of Galway at the break and they kicked three quick points through Heaney, Armstrong and Gary O’Donnell at the start of the second-half.
That killed off any chance of a fight back and Donegal had Michael Murphy and Martin McElhinney black card as their challenge faded.
Having used their full complement of substitutes already Donegal finished with 13 players.
Paddy McBrearty tried to take the fight to Galway, but he missed a penalty and the rebound when Cathal Sweeney got Galway’s black card after fouling Martin O’Reilly with 11 minutes remaining.
Galway kicked on again, Micheal Meehan made his reappearance in the latter stages and then fellow substitute Danny Cummins kicked their fourth goal.
FINAL SCORE: GALWAY 4-17 DONEGAL 0-14
Scorers for Galway: Johnny Heaney 2-2, Sean Armstrong 0-6 (4fs), Liam Silke 1-0 (1-0 pen), Danny Cummins 1-0, Gary O’Donnell 0-2, Shane Walsh 0-1, Paul Conroy 0-1, Ian Burke 0-1, Damien Comer 0-1, Eamonn Brannigan 0-2, Michael Daly 0-1.
Scorers for Donegal: Paddy McBrearty 0-6 (2fs), Michael Murphy 0-4 (3fs, 145), Martin O’Reilly 0-2, Martin McElhinney 0-1, Michael Langan 0-1.
GALWAY: Bernard Power, Eoghan Kerin, Declan Kyne, Cathal Sweeney; Gary O’Donnell, Gareth Bradshaw, Liam Silke; Paul Conroy, Tom Flynn; Johnny Heaney, Micheal Daly, Sean Armstrong; Ian Burke, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh.
Subs: David Wynne for Sweeney (60, black card), Eamonn Branningan for Walsh (60), Danny Cummins for Daly (63), Michael Meehan for Comer (68), David Walsh for Bradshaw (72), Cillian McDaid for O’Donnell (72).
DONEGAL: Mark Anthony McGinley; Caolan Ward, Kieran Gillespie, Neil McGee; Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Ryan McHugh, Paddy McGrath; Jason McGee, Michael Murphy; Mark McHugh, Eoin McHugh, Frank McGlynn; Jamie Brennan, Hugh McFadden, Patrick McBrearty.
Subs: Peter Boyle for McGinley (25, black card), Michael Langan for Brennan (35), Martin McElhinney for McGlynn (36), Karl Lacey for Gillespie (half-time), Ciaran Thompson for McFadden (42), Martin O’Reilly for E McHugh (42).
REFEREE: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).