Mayo retain Connacht crown as second-half goals prove enough to see off Galway
Mayo 2-13 Galway 1-10
It took Mayo almost a quarter of the game to get their first score of this Connacht MFC final but once they got moving they did more than enough to retain their crown at Tuam Stadium.
The large Mayo following were in full voice and they struck for two goals in the third quarter to capture their 42nd Connacht minor crown.
Galway, who went on to lift the All-Ireland title last year when they defeated Mayo after losing the Connacht title, will need to do something special again this summer as their quest for a first minor provincial title since 2018 came up short.
Galway led by 0-8 to 0-7 at the break after an opening half where both teams were on top for periods in the perfect conditions at Tuam Stadium.
Galway made the better start and rattled off the opening three points, with captain Shay McGlinchey getting two excellent efforts from distance off either foot after Charlie Cox had got them off the mark with a fourth-minute free.
Tom Lydon, who got the winner last week against Roscommon in the semi-final, opened Mayo’s account after 14 minutes and that sparked a run of five points in a row with Tiernan Egan and Senan Guilfoyle also finding their range after a brace from Darragh Beirne to lead by 0-5 to 0-3 after 22 minutes.
But then Galway got on top again and landed the next four scores through Ciarán Mulhern, Cox, Ross Coen and Daniel Fitzmaurice to lead by 0-7 to 0-5 approaching half-time.
Mayo captain Rio Mortimer, son of former All Star Kenneth, went forward to shoot an excellent point and his half-back partner Fionan O’Reilly also landed a point in response to a snapped effort from Galway midfielder Olan Kelly to lead by the minimum at the interval.
The sides twice exchanged points in the opening five minutes of the second-half but then Mayo struck a telling blow when Lydon blasted home a penalty on 41 minutes after sub Gavin Forry was fouled.
Mayo, whose second-half subs made a big impact, struck another huge blow when another replacement Thomas Tuffy slotted home a fine goal into the bottom left corner to lead by 2-10 to 0-10 going into the final quarter.
Galway sub Fionán Ó Conghaile, just seconds on the field, fired home a goal 12 minutes from time after collecting a pass from another sub Stephen O’Grady to cut the gap to 2-10 to 1-10 but two more points from Lydon and one from man-of-the-match Beirne wrapped up a deserved win.
Mayo: T Lydon 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), D Beirne 0-5 (0-2f), T Tuffy 1-0, T Egan 0-1, R Mortimer 0-1, F O’Reilly 0-1, S Guilfoyle 0-1, G Forry 0-1.
Galway: C Cox 0-3 (0-2f), F Ó Conghaile 1-0, S McGlinchey 0-2, R Coen 0-1, O Kelly 0-1, C Mulhern 0-1f, C McDonagh 0-1, D Fitzmaurice 0-1.
Mayo: C Meaney; J Lavelle, E McGreal, Y Coghill; J Clarke, R Mortimer, F O’Reilly; T Egan, S Cunningham; C Lynch, T Lydon, D Neary; D Beirne, J Carey, S Guilfoyle. Subs: G Forry for Carey (35), T Tuffy for Neary (42), C Ryder for Egan (55), R Gibbons for Lynch (62).
Galway: C Walsh; T Proulx, C McNally, V Gill; B O’Malley, R Coen, S Rhattigan; S McGlinchey, O Kelly; M Mulryan, C Mulhern, C McDonagh; C Cox, S Walsh, D Fitzmaurice. Subs: S O’Grady for Walsh (25), S O’Flynn for Rattigan (39), R Walkin for McDonagh (44), F Ó Conghaile for Fitzmaurice (48), C Gannon for Cox (64).
Referee: D Lyons (Roscommon).