Mayo 2-13 Galway 1-13
Mayo are through to the quarter-finals of the All Ireland Senior Football Championship after edging out Galway on a final scoreline of 2-13 to 1-13.
Mayo have failed to beat Galway in their last seven meetings but they produced an excellent performance to halt that run as James Horan masterminded an excellent win at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
From the referee’s first whistle, this was a blistering high-tempo affair. Aidan O’Shea won the throw-in and from the resulting possession, Mayo were fouled inside which allowed Cillian O’Connor to notch the first point of the game.
Kevin McLoughlin then put his side two points up with a lovely left-footed strike from play as the dominant Mayo crowd were making their voices heard.
Things got better for Mayo as they scored their first goal of the game with just six minutes on the clock and Galway’s goalkeeper Bernard Power, who was a late inclusion for Ruairí Lavelle, will want to forget about this moment of the game.
First, Power’s kick out had too much on it as it went over the sideline as possession was handed back to Mayo. From the resulting sideline ball, an attempted point from McLoughlin dropped short but Power fumbled the ball as he attempted to collect it and James Carr was on hand to strike the ball home.
Galway needed a score and they needed it quickly to stem the Mayo tide and Gary O’Donnell was on hand to strike the ball over the bar from a tight angle.
Galway’s response to the early goal continued as Peter Cooke notched a point.
However, Mayo struck a further blow and it was that man Carr again.
The Ardagh club man picked up the ball out wide before putting on the afterburners to get himself past numerous would-be Galway tacklers.
As he closed in on goal, Carr unleashed an unstoppable strike into the top corner of the net.
Cooke responded with another point as Galway were determined to keep in touch of their neighbours. Cillian O’Connor, however, notched over three unanswered points from frees to open up a strong 2-5 to 0-3 lead.
Galway refused to back down and they showed great resilience to kick four of the next five points to narrow Mayo’s winning margin to five points.
Before the referee called a halt on the first half, Darren Coen swung over a lovely point to leave six points between the teams at the interval.
Damien Comer was introduced for Galway on the resumption of the second half and he almost made a huge impact when his fisted effort from a high ball into the square came off the post as Mayo cleared.
The two Coens both hit points from play to keep Mayo ticking over but like in the first half, Galway hit a purple patch and four unanswered points saw them move within three points.
One of those points came from a 45 but it could have been a goal for Galway but Liam Silke’s effort from the penalty spot was saved by David Clarke.
Mayo needed their leaders to step up and Darren Coen obliged to stem the tide and he restored Mayo’s four-point advantage with a fantastic score.
With the finish line in sight, O’Connor and Donal Vaughan both notched points for the green and red but that wasn’t the end of the drama as Walsh scored a goal for Galway in injury time to leave just three points between the teams.
However, it was too little, too late for Galway as Mayo saw out the game with three points to spare.
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