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Galway hold on to reach Connacht semi-final despite Leitrim's stunning comeback

The Tribesmen were outscored by 2-10 to 0-2 in the second half of a thrilling game in Tuam.

Rob Finnerty scored 1-2 for Galway (file pic).
Rob Finnerty scored 1-2 for Galway (file pic).
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Galway 4-10
Leitrim 2-12

Daragh Small reports from Tuam Stadium

MICHAEL DALY’S EXPERIENCE was crucial as Galway held on to book their place in the EirGrid Connacht U21 semi-final with victory over Leitrim in a sensational game played in glorious conditions at Tuam Stadium.

Gerry Fahy’s side took a 4-8 to 0-2 lead into half-time despite having Kieran Molloy sent off before the break — Rob Finnerty, Dessie Conneely, Eoin Finnerty and Cillian McDaid all scored first-half goals.

However, Leitrim came with a spirited second-half fight-back. Dean McGovern and Keith Beirne found the net, but Keith Keegan was sent off and Galway squeezed through.

Last year’s beaten All-Ireland minor finalists Galway will now face reigning U21 champions Mayo in the final four later this month.

The bulk of this Leitrim team had claimed minor glory in the Connacht League three years ago. But the hosts had won All-Ireland U21 titles as recently as 2011 and 2013. Galway also claimed 18 Connacht titles at the grade, with Leitrim’s last provincial crown coming in 1991.

Rob Finnerty, who scored 1-5 for Galway in an All-Ireland minor semi-final last year, fisted to the net in the seventh minute after Colin Brady did well along the end-line. Brady did the grunt work again six minutes later when 2016 minor captain Conneely scored Galway’s second goal.

That gave them a 2-4 to 0-1 lead and Eoin Finnerty looked to have put the game beyond doubt when he goaled seven minutes before the break. McDaid then scored Galway’s fourth goal and they took a huge 18-point interval lead, despite Molloy’s second yellow in the 29th minute.

McGovern and Beirne scored goals as Leitrim rallied and hit 2-8 without reply in the second half. But Keegan got his second yellow and it left them with too much to do.

Scorers for Galway: R Finnerty, D Conneely 1-2 each; E Finnerty, C McDaid 1-0 each; P Mannion 0-3; M Daly (0-1 sl), C Brady, P Cooke 0-1 each.

Scorers for Leitrim: K Beirne 1-4 (0-4f); D McGovern 1-0; P Dolan, M Plunkett 0-2 each; R O’Rourke, R Cunningham, J Heslin, C Cullen 0-1 each.

Galway

1. Ronan O Beolain (Micheal Breathnach)

2. Liam Kelly (An Spideal)
3. Dylan McHugh (Corofin)
4. Rory Greene (Killannin)

5. Sean O Ceallaigh (Moycullen)
6. Sean Andy O Ceallaigh (Leitir Mor)
7. Kieran Molloy (Corofin)

8. Peter Cooke (Moycullen)
11. Michael Daly (Mountbellew-Moylough)

9. Cillian McDaid (Monivea-Abbey)
10. Colin Brady (Corofin)
12. Paul Mannion (Kilconly)

13. Robert Finnerty (Salthill-Knocknacarra)
14. Eoin Finnerty (Mountbellew-Moylough)
15. Dessie Conneely (Moycullen)

Subs:

18. Conor Tarpey (Oranmore-Maree) for S O Ceallaigh (28)
21. Colm Brennan (Oileain Arainn) for Cooke (43)
20. Cian D’Arcy (Caherlistrane) for E Finnerty (45)
22. Antaine O Laoi (An Spideal) for Tarpey (50)
24. Michael Boyle (Killererin) for R Finnerty (57)
17. Colm Mannion (Mountbellew-Moylough) for McDaid (62)

Leitrim

1. Jack Burke (St Patrick’s Dromahair)

2. James Mitchell (Mohill)
3. Brian Leyden (Sean O’Heslin’s Ballinamore)
4. Liam Ryan (Melvin Gaels)

5. Donal Feely (Sean O’Heslin’s Ballinamore)
6. Dean McGovern (Sean O’Heslin’s Ballinamore)
7. Oisin Madden (Mohill)

8. Keith Keegan (Mohill)
9. Mark Plunkett (Aughawillan)

10. Jack Heslin (Gortletteragh)
11. Ryan O’Rourke (Fenagh St Caillins)
12. Conor Dolan (Glencar-Manorhamilton)

13. Robbie Cunningham (St Patrick’s Dromahair)
14. Keith Beirne (Mohill)
15. Conor Gaffney (Drumreilly)

Subs:

19. Conor Cullen (Aughnasheelin) for O’Rourke (7)
18. Pearce Dolan (Aughawillan) for Feely (20)
17. Niall McGovern (Sean O’Heslin’s Ballinamore) for C Dolan (28)

Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)

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About the author:

Daragh Small

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