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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 22 April, 2018


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MAYO ARRIVED IN Castlebar this afternoon hoping to make it four-in-a-row in the Connacht Senior Football Championship. Old rivals Galway were the only ones who could stop them.

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Good afternoon and welcome to‘s liveblog of this afternoon’s Connacht SFC final between Mayo and Galway.

James Horan’s men are bidding for a provincial four-in-a-row for the first time since 1951. The day’s first silverware has already gone to the green and red — Mayo’s minors beat Roscommon 2-16 to 0-14 in the curtain raiser. We’ll have a report soon.

The senior game throws in in about 10 minutes.

Here are the teams. Mayo will line out as named during the week with 13 of the side which started in last year’s All-Ireland final defeat to Dublin.


1. Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy)

2. Chris Barrett (Belmullet)
3. Ger Cafferkey (Ballina)
4. Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis)

5. Lee Keegan (Westport)
6. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
7. Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe)

8. Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy)
9. Barry Moran (Castlebar Mitchels)

10. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
11. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
12. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole)

13. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber)
14. Andy Moran (capt, Ballaghaderreen)
15. Alan Dillon (Ballintubber)

And here’s the Galway team. One late change for Alan Mulholland’s side — Aonghus Tierney starts at corner-back in place of Joss Moore.

1. Manus Breathnach

2. Donal O’Neill
3. Finian Hanley
17. Aonghus Tierney

5. Gareth Bradshaw
6. Gary O’Donnell
7. Paul Varley

8. Fiontan O’Curraoin
9. Tomas Flynn

10. Michael Lundy
11. Shane Walsh
12. Damien Comer

13. Paul Conroy
14. Eddie Hoare
15. Danny Cummins

The teams are just starting the pre-match parade around McHale Park.

The bookies make Mayo five-point favourites against this up-and-coming Galway team. After disappointing against Roscommon in the semis, James Horan’s side will be out to prove a point.

Galway will want to show that they have come on from the 17-point defeat they suffered when the sides met last summer.

Who do you fancy?

THROW IN: Referee Rory Hickey gets us underway. The slight breeze will favour Mayo in this first half.

Galway 0-1 Mayo 0-0 — 2 mins: Danny Cummins is fouled by Chris Barrett and Shane Walsh points the opening score from the resulting free.

Looking at how Galway have lined out in these opening few minutes, Danny Cummins is the only player in the Mayo half. It nearly worked for Roscommon a few weeks ago — will it work for Galway?

Oooof! Crunching hit by Colm Boyle who lifted Damien Comer off his feet as they went shoulder to shoulder. It looked to be a legal challenge but Boyle is penalised. Comer is ok to continue after a moment or two.

Galway 0-1 Mayo 0-1 — 6 mins: Lovely ball in from Keith Higgins to find Cillian O’Connor. He slips his marker Donal O’Neill and points Mayo’s first score.

Danny Cummins gives Chris Barrett the runaround and looks to knock over a simple point with the outside of his boot but it’s off-target. Bad, bad miss.

Mayo 0-2 Galway 0-1 — 9 mins: Cillian O’Connor steadies himself and points a free.

Mayo 0-3 Galway 0-1 — 11 mins: Galway press forward but Shane Walsh’s pass is off the mark and Mayo pounce. From the turnover, Alan Dillon gets his first score of the afternoon.

Mayo 0-4 Galway 0-1 — 12 mins: Wonderful stuff by Kevin McLoughlin who backs himself all the way and works inside before pointing.

It’s all Mayo at the moment and after a bright opening few minutes, Galway are struggling to cope.

Mayo 0-4 Galway 0-2 — 16 mins: Lee Keegan drops a shot short into Manus Breathnach’s arms and Galway’s blanket defence patiently work it out from the back with some short passes. It’s played up to Michael Lundy who takes on Keith Higgins and points with the fist.

Mayo 0-5 Galway 0-2 — 18 mins: Cillian O’Connor slots over another free.

Mayo 0-6 Galway 0-2 — 20 mins: Jason Doherty’s attempt hits the post and bounces out. Kevin McLoughlin is quickest to react, gathering the rebound before pointing off his right.

It looks like Galway are ready to change things up. We’re about to see former Kildare man James Kavanagh enter the fray…

GOAL FOR MAYO! Mayo 1-6 Galway 0-2 (Keegan, 24′) – Smashing run by Cillian O’Connor and he selflessly squares to Lee Keegan who fists home the opening goal. The gulf in class between these sides is starting to show.

Mayo 1-6 Galway 0-3 — 26 mins: Walsh points a free, Galway’s first score in 10 minutes.

Alan Mullholland has also made his change: James Kavanagh on to replace Damien Comer in the half-forwards.

Mayo 1-7 Galway 0-3 — 27 mins: Another Cillian O’Connor free restores the seven-point lead for Mayo.

Galway have kicked some very bad wides — six in total by my count. Eddie Hoare is the latest culprit, squandering some good running by James Kavanagh.

Mayo 1-7 Galway 0-4 — 30 mins: Galway are not deterred though and they win possession and Paul Conroy points.

Another very scoreable Galway chance is passed up as Gareth Bradshaw cracks a shot off the post. It looks like he was caught in two minds there between pointing and going for goal… in the end, he got neither.

Mayo 1-8 Galway 0-4 — 34 mins: No messing with Cillian O’Connor. He scores his second from play and it’s almost a carbon copy of his first, slipping Donal O’Neill before curling over a point.

Mayo 1-9 Galway 0-4 — 35 mins: Kevin McLoughlin follows up with another one and from a point where Galway looked like they were closing the gap, Mayo now lead by eight.

We’re into the first of two added minutes.

HALF TIME: Mayo 1-9 Galway 0-5

Danny Cummins points to end the half.

Mayo lead by seven at the break. They’ve been good without needing to be in any way spectacular — “efficient” is probably the word I would choose here.

Galway set up very defensively at the start but they opened up as the half wore on, mainly because that tactic wasn’t working for them. They would be a good bit closer if it wasn’t for some wayward shooting.

Back in five.

THROW IN: We’re back underway here in McHale Park.

Mayo 1-9 Galway 0-7 — 38 mins: Two quick points to start the second half and Galway are back within five points.

Mayo 1-9 Galway 0-8 — 39 mins: And another! Garreth Bradshaw points from play and the gap is cut to four.

Mayo 1-10 Galway 0-9 — 42 mins: Jason Doherty stems the tide by pointing for Mayo but Paul Conroy has one back for Galway immediately.

GALWAY SUBSTITUTIONS: Double change here — Sean Armstrong on for Cummins and Daithi Burke for Tierney.

MAYO SUBSTITUTION: Mikey Conroy on for Alan Dillon.

Mayo 1-11 Galway 0-9 — 45 mins: Cillian O’Connor points a free, as you’d expect.

Mayo 1-12 Galway 0-9 — 47 mins: OOOH! Should have been a second Mayo goal to put this game to bed but Lee Keegan rattles the crossbar and it goes over for a point. Superb vision by McLoughlin to create that chance.

GOAL FOR MAYO! Mayo 2-12 Galway 0-9 (Doherty, 48′) — That’s that! Mayo don’t let Galway off the hook at the second time and it’s a smashing finish by Jason Doherty who waited for Breathnach to commit himself and then slotted the ball to the keeper’s other side.

Mayo 2-12 Galway 0-10 — 51 mins: Shane Walsh points a free but you get the feeling that Galway will need goals to turn this into a contest.

Mayo 2-12 Galway 0-11 — 52 mins: Another confidently struck free by Shane Walsh. Mayo lead by seven.

Mayo 2-12 Galway 0-12 — 53 mins: Scratch that, it’s six points now. Sean Armstrong hits the mark.

Mayo 2-13 Galway 0-12 — 54 mins: Donal O’Neill simply can’t get close enough to Cillian O’Connor and he turns and points again. That’s seven for him today by my count.

Mayo 2-13 Galway 0-13 — 55 mins: Shane Walsh points another free to keep Galway’s hopes alive.

GOAL FOR MAYO! Mayo 3-13 Galway 0-13 (Moran, 56′) Mayo cut through again and Lee Keegan pops it up for Barry Moran to fist home Mayo’s third goal.

Surely that’s game over?

PENALTY FOR GALWAY! And Barry Moran is shown a black card as well for the deliberate pull down.

Shane Walsh to take…

SAVED! Cracking stuff by Rob Hennelly. He gets down low to touch Walsh’s peno around the post.

Lee Keegan hits the back of the net after scoring a goal as Cillian O'Connor celebrates setting him up Cillian O'Connor celebrates as Lee Keegan hits the back of the net. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Mayo 3-13 Galway 0-15 — 62 mins: Paul Conroy takes his individual tally to four from play. Galway haven’t given up the fight here.

Mayo 3-14 Galway 0-15 — 65 mins: Cillian O’Connor makes amends for a missed free a couple of moments ago by pointing at the second time of asking.

Mayo 3-14 Galway 0-16 — 66 mins: Sean Armstrong points. He’s been one of Galway’s better threats since coming on.

MAYO SUBS: Kevin Kane and Diarmuid O’Connor for Boyle and Doherty.

We’re into a minute of added time. In a few short moments, the Connacht title will be Mayo’s!

FULL TIME: Mayo 3-14 Galway 0-16

That’s it! The Green and Red of Mayo rings out around Castlebar as Andy Moran prepares to collect the Nestor Cup.

It finishes a cracking day for Mayo GAA — another minor title and a four-in-a-row of provincial titles for the first time since 1951.

That’s all for now — but you don’t need us to tell you that there’s plenty more sport to look forward to today. The Munster SHC final throws in shortly and Fintan O’Toole is down in Páirc Uí Chaoimh to bring you all the action. Follow his liveblog here.

Thanks for reading and for commenting.

About the author:

Niall Kelly


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