Ben Brady/INPHO Mayo's Ryan O'Donoghue in action against the Galway defence.
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Mayo see off Galway to land second league title win in five seasons
Kevin McStay’s side won out by three points at Croke Park.

Mayo 0-14

Galway 0-11

THE KEVIN MCSTAY era has delivered early silverware for Mayo. 

They may have a championship assignment next Sunday in Connacht but there was little sense of their focus straying off course today, they were impressive and controlled in fashioning a three-point victory over Galway.

Four years ago Mayo also reached the league summit, a moment of deliverance for a group scarred by the pain of All-Ireland finals. The scale of turnover since is striking, only five of the 19 players that featured during that success against Kerry, played a part today.

New figures have emerged. Goalkeeper Colm Reape carried off the man-of-the-match award. The Knockmore man produced a string of impressive saves to protect his goalmouth, the standout in the 56th minute when he tipped away a blast from Damien Comer. At the other end, Reape knocked over three points from placed balls, another element of his valuable contribution.

colm-reape-throws-the-cup-in-the-air-in-celebration Ryan Byrne / INPHO Colm Reape throws the cup in the air in celebration. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Ryan O’Donoghue top scored with 0-7. Jack Coyne showed up well in defence and tidily converted Mayo’s last point of the day, a score on the cusp of full-time that sent them four clear. 

And there was an experienced core to their team. Aidan O’Shea may not have scored but he shone with his ball-winning capacity to win frees for O’Donoghue to convert and his range of kick passing stood out. When Galway pushed hard at Mayo in the second half, the promptings of Paddy Durcan and Diarmuid O’Connor were also important.

Galway found themselves coming up short in a Croke Park decider for the second time in nine months. The complexion of their team had changed, nine of their All-Ireland final side starting here. But this was a game they were always chasing, slipping five points in arrears after the first quarter. They got back within a point three times but could not draw level. Comer, Matthew Tierney and Peter Cooke were all repelled by Reape as they sought goals in the second half.

aidan-oshea-after-the-game-with-damien-comer Ben Brady / INPHO Mayo's Aidan O'Shea after the game with Galway's Damien Comer. Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

The bright sparks early on were produced by Mayo. Reape bookended the half with kicks stroked over the bar from the ground. They were 0-6 to 0-1 clear midway through, their tackling more aggressive in executing turnovers and their counter-attacks sharper.

Galway were struggling but gained a foothold in the second quarter. Shane Walsh clipped a couple of frees and flighted over a delightful shot from play. John Maher did well to engineer room in a tight space to convert another point. Out of nowhere they were only 0-6 to 0-5 adrift and had come close twice to netting as well. 

Reape’s outstretched boot denied Maher on one occasion and then Johnny Heaney rushed through, held off Conor Loftus and poked the ball beyond the advancing Mayo goalkeeper. The shot went the wrong side of the post and the Killanin man ended up the worst from the collision. He played on  for a few minutes but was forced to limp off soon after, Damien Comer pressed into action.

connor-gleeson-competes-in-the-air-with-jordan-flynn Ben Brady / INPHO Connor Gleeson competes in the air with Jordan Flynn. Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

The presence of the Annaghdown All-Star offered Galway a focus in the second half. His  shooting let him down on a few occasions after half-time, yet a Walsh point after a mesmerising run in the 55th minute and another well-judged shot by Peter Cooke in the 62nd minute, saw Galway cut Mayo’s lead, 0-11 to 0-10.

This was where Mayo held their nerve and produced a telling burst. Tommy Conroy jumped off the bench, drew two fouls from the Galway defence and O’Donoghue popped over the frees. Coyne gave them the comfort of being four clear and Tomo Culhane lashed a late shot over, Galway’s solitary scoring response.

No time for Mayo to savour this as Roscommon await next Sunday.  The winners of that will be Galway’s opponents on 23 April. The season rapidly shifts gear.

Scorers for Mayo: Ryan O’Donoghue 0-7 (0-5f, 0-2 mark), Colm Reape 0-3 (0-2f, 0-1 ’45), Paddy Durcan 0-1, Jordan Flynn 0-1, Jack Coyne 0-1, James Carr 0-1.

Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-5 (0-2f, 0-1 ’45), Robert Finnerty 0-2 (0-1 mark), Seán Kelly 0-1, John Maher 0-1, Peter Cooke 0-1, Tomo Culhane 0-1.


1. Colm Reape (Knockmore)

2. Jack Coyne (Ballyhaunis), 3. David McBrien (Ballaghaderreen), 4. Sam Callinan (Ballina Stephenites)

5. Stephen Coen (Hollymount-Carramore), 6. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers), 7. Paddy Durcan (captain, Castlebar Mitchels)

8. Matthew Ruane (Breaffy), 9. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)

10. Fionn McDonagh (Westport), 11. Jack Carney (Kilmeena), 12. Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina Deel Rovers)

13. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), 14. James Carr (Ardagh), 15. Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet)


  • 20. Eoghan McLaughlin (Westport) for McBrien (half-time)
  • 17. Tommy Conroy (The Neale) for Carr (56)
  • 24. Michael Plunkett (Ballintubber) for McDonagh (66)
  • 22. Pádraig O’Hora (Ballina Stephenites) for Coyne (73)


1. Connor Gleeson (Dunmore Machales)

2. Johnny McGrath (Caherlistrane), 3. Sean Kelly (Moycullen), 4. Sean Fitzgerald (Bearna)

5. Dylan McHugh (Corofin), 6. John Daly (Mountbellew/Moylough), 7. Cian Hernon (Bearna)

8. Paul Conroy (St James’), 9. John Maher (Salthill/Knocknacarra)

10. Matthew Tierney (Oughterard), 11. Johnny Heaney (Killannin), 12. Peter Cooke (Moycullen)

13. Robert Finnerty (Salthill/Knocknacarra) 14. Shane Walsh (Kilmacud Crokes), 15. Cathal Sweeney (Salthill/Knocknacarra)


  • 25. Damien Comer (Annaghdown) for Heaney (inj) (33)
  • 17. Jack Flynn (Claregalway) for Hernon (half-time)
  • 23. Tomo Culhane (Salthill-Knocknacarra) for Finnerty (62)
  • 18. Daniel O’Flaherty (Salthill-Knocknacarra) for Sweeney (65)
  • 24. Dessie Conneely (Maigh Cuilinn) for Conroy (73)

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)

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