Cathal Noonan/INPHO

As it happened: Galway v Mayo, Connacht SFC semi-final

Mayo opened their provincial defence against old rivals Galway in Salthill. Catch up on the action with our minute-by-minute tracker.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @the42_iepost a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

Are we ready for this?

Mayo launch their bid for a Connacht five-in-a-row as they travel to Salthill to take on old rivals Galway.

Can Kevin Walsh’s side serve up the shock of the day?

TEAM NEWS: Here’s the Mayo team — no Rob Hennelly and no Ger Cafferkey, but Cillian O’Connor is passed fit to start.

1. David Clarke – Ballina Stephenites

2. Chris Barrett – Belmullet
3. Kevin Keane – Westport
4. Keith Higgins – Ballyhaunis (Capt.)

5. Lee Keegan – Westport
6. Tom Cunniffe – Castlebar Mitchels
7. Colm Boyle – Davitts

8. Seamus O’Shea – Breaffy
9. Tom Parsons – Charlestown Sarsfields

10. Diarmuid O’Connor – Ballintubber
11. Aidan O’Shea – Breaffy
12. Kevin McLoughlin – Knockmore

13. Andy Moran – Ballaghaderreen
14. Cillian O’Connor – Ballintubber
15. Jason Doherty – Burrishoole

TEAM NEWS: Here’s the Galway team as named this week. Shane Walsh misses out through injury but a full-forward line of Cummins, Comer and Lundy looks impressive enough as is.

1. Manus Breathnach

2. Johnny Duane
3. Finian Hanley
4. Cathal Sweeney

5. Liam Silke
6. Gary O’Donnell
7. Sean Denvir

8. Fiotan Ó Curraoin
9. Paul Conroy (c)

10. Gary Sice
11. Patrick Sweeney
12. Tom Flynn

13. Danny Cummins
14. Damien Comer
15. Michael Lundy

Salthill is buzzing, despite the longest pre-match parade of all time! Just about ready to go now.

A quick look at the betting before throw-in.

It’s Galway 12/5, Mayo 2/5, and 8/1 the draw.

Two points is the handicap spread.

THROW IN: We’re underway in Salthill.

That didn’t take long. As the ball is thrown in, Lee Keegan and Michael Lundy get stuck into each other straight away. A couple of others get involved and in the end, the two main culprits are booked.

Mayo 0-1 Galway 0-0: Andy Moran kicks the opening score of the afternoon.

Galway are happy to allow Mayo plenty of possession, provided they’re not within shooting distance. Eventually Lee Keegan miscues and gives the ball straight to a maroon jersey.

Another barney! David Clarke does well to claim a high ball but he’s clattered by Damien Comer as he comes down. A few others decide to say their piece but in the end, it’s a free out with no more severe ramifications.

Mayo 0-2 Galway 0-0: A fairly simple free for Cillian O’Connor in front of the posts, and he slots it.

Mayo 0-2 Galway 0-1: Great work by Danny Cummins who gets goal-side of Keith Higgins and has the Mayo skipper in a spot of bother. Cummins can’t quite gather clean possession but he wins the free.

Paul Conroy points.

More bookings — Gary Sice and Colm Boyle decide that they fancy a bit of handbags and they’re both shown yellow.

There’s a definite niggle to this game so far.

Galway are swarming Mayo in possession and it seems to be paying dividends, forcing plenty of turnovers so far.

Mayo 0-3 Galway 0-1: Aidan O’Shea gets inside Johnny Duane and the Galway corner-back has a little tug on the jersey which is more than enough to send O’Shea sprawling to the deck.

O’Connor points the free.

Patrick Sweeney and Paul Conroy tackle Colm Boyle Patrick Sweeney and Paul Conroy double-team Colm Boyle. Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

Mayo 0-3 Galway 0-2: Gary Sice manages to get his shot off before the charging Chris Barrett can close him down. Galway have easily been Mayo’s equals in these opening 15 minutes.

Mayo 0-4 Galway 0-2: Another easy free for Cillian O’Connor in front of the posts. Three from three so far.

Mayo 0-5 Galway 0-2: And now he’s got one from play! The Galway defence is split by a diagonal pass and O’Connor pings one off his right boot.

Mayo 0-5 Galway 0-3: Damien Comer gets up in front of Tom Cunniffe, who fouls him as the two fall to ground. There’s no advantage, so Galway win a free which Conroy points.

Mayo 0-5 Galway 0-4: Danny Cummins quickly follows up with another and the gap between the sides is back to the minimum.

Mayo 0-5 Galway 0-5: That’s three in three minutes for Galway. They take a quick free to Damien Comer and he spins, shoots, and scores. All square!

There’s a surge of noise around Salthill. They believe! But there’s still a long way to go…

Mayo 0-6 Galway 0-5: Lovely attacking move by Mayo and it ends in Andy Moran’s second point of the afternoon. Kevin McLaughlin picks him out with a kick-pass, Moran exchanges a one-two with Aidan O’Shea, and then drills the point over from a narrow angle.

Mayo drop a high ball into the Galway square but it just slips through Aidan O’Shea’s fingers and Breathnach gathers before clearing.

Cillian O’Connor sizes up a 45 but it slips away to the right and wide.

Mayo 0-7 Galway 0-5: Finian Hanley is the latest man to pick up a yellow card thanks to a bit of pulling and dragging with Aidan O’Shea. O’Connor knocks over the free and Mayo lead by two.

GOAL FOR GALWAY! Galway 1-5 Mayo 0-7 (Sice)

What a massive lift for Galway on the stroke of half-time! Gary Sice gets in behind the full-backs and rifles a shot that gives David Clarke no chance.

Looks like they will be ahead going into the break.

Galway 1-5 Mayo 0-8: Or maybe not! Another Cillian O’Connor free levels it up.

HT: Galway 1-5 Mayo 0-8

Here’s that Gary Sice cracker – what a finish!

sice RTÉ.ie RTÉ.ie

This has been hugely entertaining so far. Galway have got their tactics spot on so far and have matched Mayo across the park for the most part. Their discipline has let them down at times though, giving Cillian O’Connor plenty of easy chances.

THROW IN: We’re up and running again.

Mayo 0-9 Galway 1-5: An O’Connor free restores Mayo’s lead.

GOAL FOR MAYO! Mayo 1-9 Galway 1-5 (og) What a disaster for Galway! They’ve undone all their hard work and gifted Mayo the advantage.

Aidan O’Shea barrels towards goal but fumbles possession. Manus Breathnach should dive on the loose ball but instead the Galway keeper tries to hack it clear. It comes back off Finian Hanley and skews into the unmanned goal while everyone in maroon looks on in horror.

That’s awful … and pretty hilarious unless you’re from Galway.

Mayo 1-11 Galway 1-5: Cillian O’Connor points and then Aidan O’Shea adds another. From level at half-time, Mayo lead by six after just four minutes of this second half.

Mayo sub: Mark Ronaldson on to replace Alan Dillon who can’t have played more than seven or eight minutes since coming on for Andy Moran.

So what can Galway offer now? They were excellent in the opening 35 but that Mayo flurry has taken all of the wind out of their sails.

Mayo 1-11 Galway 1-6: Paul Conroy points a free from a very difficult angle. Five-point game with just over 20 minutes to play.

Damien Comer has a chance to cut the deficit further after some nice work by Danny Cummins in the corner, but he kicks Galway’s sixth wide instead.

Mayo 1-12 Galway 1-6: Cillian O’Connor does all the hard work and then Jason Doherty points, his first of the day.

BLACK CARD! Paul Conroy’s afternoon is over. He pulls Colm Boyle to ground, completely needlessly, and he’s off to be replaced by Peadar Óg Ó Griofa.

Mayo sub: Donal Vaughan on for Colm Boyle for the final 18 minutes.

GOAL FOR GALWAY! Mayo 1-12 Galway 2-6 (Cummins)

Hang on a second, we might still have a game here! Cathal Sweeney bursts forward down the left, passes to Tom Flynn and he spots Danny Cummins charging in on goal unmarked. The pop pass is perfect, and Cummins palms into the net.

Three in it!

Mayo 1-12 Galway 2-7: Gary Sice free… it’s a two-point game!

Mayo 1-13 Galway 2-7: Great response from Mayo as Mark Ronaldson points to steady the ship.

Mayo 1-14 Galway 2-7: And now Seamus O’Shea! Mayo lead by four again, and look to have reasserted control.

Bad miss by Kevin McLaughlin. Galway have 10 minutes to force the issue here.

Double sub for Galway: Kevin Walsh rolls the dice — Hoare and Bradshaw on for Flynn and Sice.

OOOH, so close for Danny Cummins. He gets up first to a dropping ball at the back post and but for a touch from Clarke, he’d have Galway’s third goal.

Comer misses the resulting 45. Galway can’t afford to leave those points out there.

RED CARD! Finian Hanley has already been booked and he’s shown a black card. Yellow+Black = Red so Galway will finish the game with 14.

Mayo 1-15 Galway 2-7: That’s our first point in more than 10 minutes — a Cillian O’Connor free which leaves five between the sides.

Mayo sub: Alan Freeman on for O’Connor, who finishes his afternoon with nine points (eight frees).

There will be four additional minutes. Is that enough time for a late Galway surge?

Mayo 1-15 Galway 2-8: That’s the start of it! Gary Sice points a free — Mayo now lead by four.

RED CARD! Lee Keegan is acting the maggot and he’s shown a second yellow card. It’s a Galway free but Keegan refuses to release the ball. Damien Comer gets involved, pulling and dragging in an attempt to get on with play, and it all boils over. In the end, Keegan is shown the line.

FULL TIME: Mayo 1-15 Galway 2-8

That’s it. Mayo get championship 2015 off to a winning start but not without a decent test from Galway.

In reality, the opening five minutes of the second half was where the Tribesmen’s challenge died. You can’t really afford to concede 1-3 in five minutes to Division 1 opposition and expect to get away with it.

Still, Kevin Walsh’s side look like they’ll be a handful for most teams in the qualifiers.

For Mayo, it’s a business as usual and another Connacht final to look forward to. The five-in-a-row dream is still alive.

That’s it from us. Thanks for reading.

5 talking points ahead of Galway and Mayo’s Connacht showdown

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