Galway ............. 1-9
Mayo ................ 1-9
(Galway won 4-2 on penalties)
MAYO manager James Horan bemoaned the fact that his side will miss out on a third game in the FBD League following their defeat to a more experienced strong Galway side in the semi-final at Tuam Stadium where once again penalties were needed to produce a result.
In a game that finished 1-9 apiece at the end of noirmal time, Galway scored four penalties to Mayo's two to clinch a place in the final against Roscommon hwo defated Sligo in the other semi-final..
“It would have been nice to have had another game before the National League but I was happy overall with the team performance and with the progress being made by many of the new players,” he said.
However, it was the old foot soldiers, notably Keith Higgins and Colm Boyle, who kept Mayo's heart beating at times as they looked to have secured a place in the final as five minutes of injury-tiime ticked away before a massive crowd at a cold and very blustery Tuam Stadium.
Impact substitute Michal Daly sent in a booming ball over the Mayo defence and it fell into the hands of the unmarked Barry McHugh who slotted home from close range to force the game to penalties.
Unlike last week when Mayo's Jason Doherty fired home the first of four against Leitrim, Diarmuid O'Connor's effort was saved and it was advantage Galway straight away as Liam Silke, Johnny Heaney, Barry McHugh and Tom Flynn in turn found the net, Brian Reape and James Kelly the only ones to score for Mayo as Andy Moran also saw his effort saved.
The game also produced no shortage of talking points with the new rules once again under scrutiny and not getting much favourable reaction from either Horan or his captain Colm Boyle, to say the least, the latter saying he had yet to meet a player who was in favour of the three hand-pass rule.
But the biggest criticism came from Horan over the mark which possibly cost Mayo a second goal when Jason Doherty, who was one-on-one with the Galway goalkeeper, was called back by the referee who had signalled a mark for the Burrishoole man instead of allowing him the advantage - a call which drew shouts of dersion from the large Mayo following in a crowd which was estimated to be over 8,000 and possibly as high as 10,000.
However, Doherty did produce Mayo's firsr half goal to give them an interval lead of 1-5 to 0-3, all three of the Galway scores coming from frees in that first half, while Mayo had their opening point from play from the impressive debutante, Conor Diskin from Claremorrois, while Brian Reape also nailed two good scores from play and both Diskin and Doherty scored from frees.
Two minutes into the second half Doherty pointed a free to extend Mayo's lead to six points but with McHugh pulling the strings for Galway, their forwards began to move a lot better with the wind behind them in the secpnd half while the arrival of Daly and Peter Cooke from the bench had a decisive impact on the game.
Mayo were under pressure and began to make mistakes which proved costly and were fortunate not to have conceded at least two other goals, Daly denied a certain goal by the butt of the post, while Galway were also guilty of missing two scoreable frees before they rescued the game with that late late goal deep in injury-time.
“Look we should have won the game in normal time but we made a few mistakes when in possesion and they proved costly but I'm still happy with the way the team played and the progress being made.
"But a game agsainat Roscommon in the FBD final would have helped us along further so all we can do now is prepare for the opening game agaisnt Roscommon in the National Leage in two weeks time," said the Mayo manager.
Galway: M. Breathnach, D. Kyne, S. A. Ó Ceallaigh, L. Silke, K. Molloy, J. Daly (0-2, 1f), D. Wall, K. Duggan, T. Flynn; C. McDaid, M. Farragher, J. Heaney, F. Burke, M. Boyle, B. McHugh (1-6, 4f, 1'45).
Subs used: P. Cooke for Duggan (35), S. Kelly for Molloy (42), M. Daly (0-1) for Farragher (50), G. O’Donnell for Wall (52), E. Kerin for J. Daly (61).
Mayo: R. Hennelly, K. Higgins, B. Harrison, D. Drake, C. Boyle, M. Plunkett, J. McCormack, D. Vaughan, D. O’Connor, F. McDonagh, C. Loftus, F. Boland, C. Diskin (0-2, 1f), B. Reape (0-3), J.. Doherty (1-4, 4f).
Subs used: A. Moran for Loftus (h.t, C. O’Shea for Boland (48), S. Coen for McCormack (53), L. Keegan for Doherty (64), J. Kelly for Drake (72).
Referee: P. Neilan (Roscommon).