The Mayo Under 17 footballers enjoyed a fine win over Galway in Tuam this evening. Photo: Mayo GAA

Mayo stun Galway to book final spot

The Mayo minor footballers produced a five-star performance as they beat a highly fancied Galway by 1-15 to 0-4 in Tuam Stadium tonight to book their place in the Connacht final.

After wins against Leitrim, Roscommon, Sligo and now Galway, Mayo finished their round-robin campaign with a 100% record, which not only means they are straight through to the Connacht decider in three weeks’ time but are also guaranteed a place in the All-Ireland championship quarterfinals.

There is no doubt this was Mayo’s best performance to date. Despite their underdogs tag going into the game, they went toe-to-toe with Galway from an early stage and once they got into their scoring grove, they just blew their opponents away.

Although Galway opened the scoring just 16 seconds into the game with a point from Sean Dunne, this was the only time they had the lead in the entire game. Indeed, it was the Tribesmen's only score of the first half, despite them having the wind advantage.

Galway were just not able to get past a well-drilled and well-marshalled Mayo defence, who were superb all night.

Once midfielder Jack Keane landed Mayo’s opening score, a point in the 18th minute, Mayo followed it up with five more unanswered points, two from Niall Hurley, one from Ronan Clarke and two long-range frees from goalkeeper David Dolan.

This left Mayo in a commanding place as the two teams trotted off for the interval break as they led by 0-6 to 0-1.

Five minutes into the second half Mayo’s interval lead of five points had risen to eight after Diarmuid Duffy and James Maheady (two) raised white flags.

Although Galway replied with two points from Eanna Monaghan, both frees, Maheady (with his third magnificent point in an eight-minute spell) and Stephen Curley exchanged points before Mayo put the game beyond Galway’s reach with a superb goal from Duffy.

It came in the 42nd minute when Paul Gilmore picked out Duffy with a great pass before the Ballinrobe man raced through the Galway defence and drove a thundering shot to the roof of the net.

There was just no way back for Galway now. But there was no let-up from Mayo either, as along with keeping Galway scoreless for the remainder of the game, they added five more points from Niall Hurley, Ronan Clarke, Duffy, Rio Mortimer and substitute Dylan Gallagher to run out winners by 14 points.

Mayo now have three weeks to prepare for the final, which could well be against Galway again. Should this be the case, the final will be played at a Mayo venue.

Mayo: D. Dolan (0-2), R. Mortimer (0-1), J. McMonagle, L. Silke, L. Maloney, C. McHale, P. Gilmore, J. Keane (0-1), L. Feeney, J. Maheady (0-3), Z. Collins, D. Duffy (1-2), C. Keavney, Ronan Clarke (0-2), N. Hurley (0-3).

Subs used: D. Hurley, D. Gallagher (0-1), S. O’Dowd, O. Cronin, O. Armstrong.

Galway: K. Gilmore, A. Colleran, R. Flaherty, V. Gill, M. Mannion, C. Trayers, R. Coen, J. Lonergan, S. McGlinchey, S. Dunne (0-1), C. Costello, O. Morgan, S. Curley (0-1), É. Monaghan (0-1), C. Cox.

Subs used: P. McNeela, O. Kelly, F. O’Connor, L. Carr, C. Dolan.