Galway 1-17 Mayo 1-18
Mayo are the Electric Ireland GAA Connacht Minor Football champions are a dramatic and nail-biting win over Galway in Tuam.
These two sides were nip and tuck throughout and it took extra-time to separate them as a goal for Mayo with just seven minutes remaining in the second half of extra-time proved the difference.
James McLaughlin, who was brilliant for Galway this evening, had an opportunity to level the game with a long-range free but his effort went wide and right to welcome ecstatic scenes from the Mayo players and supporters as the referee blew the full-time whistle.
There wasn’t much between the sides in the opening minutes as both teams traded points. Tomo Culhane opened the scoring with a free before Conor Reid responded for Mayo.
Culhane was highly influential in the opening half as a strong run from him set up Evan Nolan for a simple point to put his side into the lead. A 45 from Ethan Henry put Mayo on level terms but their tactic of pumping long balls into their full-forward line was proving detrimental as Galway’s fullbacks were dominating in the air and counter-attacking at pace.
Galway soon found themselves in a four-point lead thanks to points from James McLaughlin, Daniel Cox and a brace from Culhane.
Mayo began to exert more pressure on the Galway players, especially in midfield, and this resulted in scores from Ciaran Mylett, Ethan Henry and Dylan Thornton all scoring from play to put just one point between the sides.
Culhane stemmed the tide somewhat with another point from a free but back-to-back points from Frank Irwin saw the sides go level.
Mayo continued on their surge when a wonderful individual run from Rory Morrin saw him split the posts before Shaun Dempsey put the green and red two points ahead.
However, Mayo conceded two frees in the closing moments of the first half which saw Culhane notch over two points to leave the sides level at halftime, 0-9 to 0-9.
In the second half, Galway were just about keeping Mayo at arm’s length. A superb lung-busting run from Ruairi King saw him put his side into the lead before Grainger made it a two-point gap when his long-range effort bounced in front of goal before sailing over the bar.
Morrin and Henry hit back for Mayo to level the game before they suffered a setback when Aidan Cosgrave received a black card. Culhane stepped up to take the free to put his side one point up.
Culhane’s efforts were keeping his side ahead but the game was level with just minutes remaining when Mayo’s star man, Henry, landed a superb point after a great individual solo run.
Mayo had another opportunity to take the lead but Conor Reid’s free attempt went disappointingly wide but a monster 45 from Henry put his side ahead moments later.
With the game deep into injury time, Mayo lost the ball in midfield and the opportunity fell to that man Culhane who put over a superb effort from out wide to sent the game into extra time.
Galway received a major boost when they were awarded a penalty in the first half of extra time which Culhane calmly dispatched to put four points between the teams.
Mayo managed to get one score back and going into the second half of extra time, there were three points between the teams.
Despite all the odds against them, Mayo kept battling.
Paul Walsh notched a point for Mayo at the beginning of the second half to put just two points between the teams.
Mayo then received a huge boost when they were awarded a penalty of their own as Galway’s McLaughlin put in a clumsy challenge on Walsh in front of goal.
Irwin blasted home the penalty to put Mayo one point ahead with seven minutes remaining. Mayo missed a few chances to go further in front and when McLaughlin lined up a long-range free for Galway deep into injury time, Mayo fans must have been fearing the worst.
However, his effort went wide of the posts to welcome the referee’s full-time whistle and ecstatic celebrations from the Mayo players and supporters.