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Keith Higgins red card proves costly as Galway edge Mayo in enthralling affair

Mayo battled hard despite their numerical disadvantage.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Galway 0-15
Mayo 1-11

Ciaran McGreal reports from Salthill 

GALWAY HELD ON against 14-man Mayo as they secured their place in the Connacht SFC final after an enthralling clash at Pearse Stadium.

Mayo besieged Galway late on but they couldn’t find an equaliser as Galway march on as Kevin Walsh’s men look to retain their Connacht title.

Kevin McLoughlin had the ball in the net for Mayo on six minutes as Lee Keegan’s shot came back off the post and fell kindly for McLoughlin. The Knockmore man held off David Wynne before blasting the ball past Ruairi Lavelle to give Mayo a 1-1 to 0-3 lead.

Sean Armstrong was in fine form from placed balls and his shooting helped Galway to a 0-8 to 1-3 lead after 26 minutes. Mayo then suffered a blow as Keith Higgins was shown a red card by referee Joe McQuillan for clashing with Damien Comer off the ball.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Mayo finished the half well to trail by just a point at the break as Galway led 0-9 to 1-5 at the interval.

Armstrong (free) and substitute Eamonn Brannigan kicked two quick fire points after half time to give Galway a bit of breathing space. Diarmuid O’Connor closed the gap before another point from Armstrong and a good score from Comer saw Galway lead 0-13 to 1-6 after 45 minutes.

Andy Moran and Patrick Durcan kept Mayo in touch but two frees from Gary Sice cancelled out those efforts.

Mayo should have had a goal on 65 minutes but Johnny Heaney blocked two shots on the line first from Danny Kirby and then from Diarmuid O’Connor after Lavelle was left in no man’s land.

Cillian O’Connor kicked two points in a row for Mayo as they trailed by just a point with two minutes of normal time remaining.

O’Connor and substitute Evan Regan (2) both kicked wides late on as Mayo failed to kick a precious equaliser.

Scorers for Galway: Sean Armstrong 0-6 (3 frees, 3 ’45); Damien Comer & Gary Sice (2 frees) 0-2 each; Gareth Bradshaw, Johnny Heaney, Shane Walsh, Michael Daly, Eamonn Brannigan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor 0-6 (5 frees); Kevin McLoughlin 1-1; Patrick Durcan, Fergal Boland, Diarmuid O’Connor & Andy Moran 0-1 each.

Galway

1 Rory Lavelle (Renvyle)

2 Cathal Sweeney (Kilanin)
3 Declan Kyne (Clonbur)
7 David Wynne (Moycullen)

6 Gary O’Donnell (Tuam Stars)
5 Gareth Bradshaw (Moycullen)
4 Liam Silke (Corofin)

11 Paul Conroy (St James’)
9 Fiontán Ó Curraoin (Mícheal Breathnach)

8 Thomas Flynn (Athenry)
12 Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin/Clonberne)
10 Johnny Heaney (Killanin)

13 Michael Daly (Mountbellew/Moylough)
14 Damien Comer (Annaghdown)
15 Sean Armstrong (Salthill/Knocknacarra)

Subs
21 Gary Sice (Corofin) for Flynn (31, black card)
22 Eamonn Brannigan (St Michaels) for Wynne (half time)
23 Danny Cummins (Claregalway) for Daly (70)
24 Michael Lundy (Corofin) for Sice (72)

Mayo

1 David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)

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

7 Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)
6 Lee Keegan (Westport)
18 Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe)

9 Tom Parsons (Charlestown)
11 Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)

10 Fergal Boland (Aghamore)
8 Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy)
22 Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore)

13 Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
14 Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber)
15 Andy Moran (Ballaghderreen)

Subs
23 Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy) for Seamus O’Shea (48)
24 Danny Kirby (Castlebar Mitchels) for Moran (48)
12 Jason Doherty (Burrishoole) for McLoughlin  (58)
25 Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenites) for Boland (61)
5 Colm Boyle (Davitts) for Vaughan (69)
19 David Drake (Ballaghderreen) for Diarmuid O’Connor (72)

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

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Ciaran McGreal

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