All-Ireland SFC Preliminary Quarter-Final – Mayo 1-10 Galway 0-12
By Cian O’Connell at Pearse Stadium
At the end Kevin McStay punched the Salthill air in delight.
Trailing by five points at the interval, Mayo, with trademark defiance, came thundering back to earn a place in next weekend’s All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Finals at Croke Park.
David McBrien’s 43rd minute goal proved to be the decisive score during a Mayo burst that yielded 1-5 without reply.
That was when the chief damage took place. Damien Comer was forced off for Galway and suddenly Mayo had that valuable Championship ingredient: momentum.
It was a passionate response from Mayo because the opening period was all about Galway’s industry and application. Galway’s desire was reflected in the 0-8 to 0-3 lead at the turnaround.
By the seventh minute Mayo had accumulated a 0-3 to 0-1 advantage, but the green and red outfit didn’t score again before the break.
In that spell Galway, with Paul Conroy prominent, reeled off seven points on the spin.
Galway repeatedly gathered Mayo kickouts, but the one area for concern was the failure to convert enough chances.
Ultimately Galway landed 0-8 from 16 scoring attempts in the first half. Those misses mattered deeply.
Kevin McLoughlin started brightly for Mayo, scoring one and creating another point as the visitors edged 0-3 to 0-1 in front.
Galway, though, responded with Damien Comer carrying a potent attacking threat.
Shane Walsh (two frees), Comer, Tierney (two), John Maher, and Cillian McDaid all registered points for Galway, who went in armed with a five point cushion.
Then the match became a bit chaotic in the third quarter, just how Mayo like it with Diarmuid O’Connor’s dynamism vital. Ryan O’Donoghue rifled over a free and added a beauty from play.
McBrien exchanged passes with Aidan O’Shea prior to planting a critical goal. Suddenly the teams were level, 1-5 to 0-8.
Substitute Cillian O’Connor and Paddy Durcan with two delicious efforts edged Mayo three to the good with 17 minutes remaining.
In the closing stages Galway outscored Mayo by 0-4 to 0-2. It wasn’t enough. A couple of late goalmouth scrambles were forced, but Cillian McDaid was thwarted.
With a flair for the dramatic and rollicking summer adventures, Mayo head for GAA headquarters heartened.
Scorers for Mayo: David McBrien 1-0, Tommy Conroy, Paddy Durcan, and Ryan O’Donoghue (1f) 0-2 each, Kevin McLoughlin, Stephen Coen, Cillian O’Connor, and James Carr 0-1 each.
Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-4 (4fs), John Maher and Matthew Tierney (1m) 0-2 each, Cillian McDaid, Damien Comer, Peter Cooke, and Paul Conroy 0-1 each.
Mayo: Colm Reape; Sam Callinan, David McBrien, Jack Coyne; Paddy Durcan, Jason Doherty, Eoghan McLaughlin; Stephen Coen, Diarmuid O’Connor; Jack Carney, Kevin McLoughlin, Jordan Flynn; Ryan O’Donoghue, Aidan O’Shea, Tommy Conroy.
Subs: Enda Hession for Doherty (HT), Cillian O’Connor for McLoughlin (45), Mattie Ruane for Carney (59), James Carr for O’Shea (62), Donnacha McHugh for Coyne (70+2).
Galway: Connor Gleeson; Jack Glynn, Seán Fitzgerald, Johnny McGrath; Seán Kelly, Cian Hernon, John Daly; Paul Conroy, John Maher; Johnny Heaney, Peter Cooke, Cillian McDaid; Matthew Tierney, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh.
Subs: Ian Burke for Comer (HT), Cathal Sweeney for Heaney (48), Rob Finnerty for Hernon (62), Tomo Culhane for Cooke (69).
Referee: Seán Hurson (Tyrone).