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Mayo capture first Connacht crown since 2015 after holding off late Galway rally

James Horan’s men march on after lifting the Nestor Cup.

Aidan O'Shea lifts the Nestor Cup.
Aidan O'Shea lifts the Nestor Cup.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Mayo 0-14

Galway 0-13

John Fallon reports from Pearse Stadium

MAYO CAPTURED THEIR first Connacht title since 2015 after holding off a late Galway rally at Pearse Stadium.

They never trailed apart from the opening seconds and the win, Mayo’s 47th provincial title, maintains James Horan winning run in six Connacht finals as manager.

Mayo, having opted for wind advantage, led by 0-8 to 0-5 at the break, with Galway keeping plenty of men back and forcing James Horan’s men to shoot from distance.

Mayo shot six wides in that opening half, with Galway finishing the half strongly and scored three of the last four points before the break.

Paddy Durcan went forward to extend Mayo’s lead to 0-5 to 0-1 after 16 minutes before Shane Walsh got their first score in 19 minutes when Shane Walsh tapped over a free after debutant Dessie Conneely opened the scoring in the first minute.

Ryan O’Donoghue, who started instead of Mark Moran, and the impressive Mattie Ruane pushed the lead out to five three minutes from the break, with Galway suffering a big blow when in-form defender Johnny Duane was stretchered off.

But with Paul Conroy superb around the middle of the field and the Kelly brothers Paul and Sean also making telling contributions, Galway got enough ball into attack and Walsh landed one from play after scoring a free.

tommy-conroy-and-gary-odonnell Mayo’s Tommy Conroy and Gary O'Donnell of Galway. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

And when Cillian O’Connor responded with a free for Mayo, Paul Kelly hit back with a fine point to leave a goal between them at the interval.

There was a lively start to the second-half with each side shooting three points in the opening eight minutes before Walsh cut the gap to two after 46 minutes with another free.

Conroy landed his second point after O’Connor had converted another free to leave it 0-12 to 0-10 heading into the final quarter.

Galway brought on Damien Comer, a late addition to the subs bench after recovering from a hamstring injury, but it was Mayo who went a goal in front 13 minutes from time when O’Connor added another free.

Walsh cut the gap with another sublime point from the left and then at the other end it took a superb save from Bernard Power to deny Eoghan McLaughlin the opening goal.

oisin-mullin-with-damien-comer Mayo's Oisin Mullin with Damien Comer of Galway. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Walsh restored Mayo’s three points lead when he fisted over from a goal chance with four minutes from regular time remaining.

Conroy cut the gap with another point but Walsh was off target with two difficult frees from the right before he cut the gap to the minimum deep into stoppage time when Sean Kelly was pulled down as he bore down on goal but Galway were unable to find an equaliser.

Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor 0-4 (2f), Tommy Conroy 0-3, Mattie Ruane 0-2, Bryan Walsh 0-2, Paddy Durcan 0-1, Diarmuid O’Connor 0-1, Ryan O’Donoghue 0-1.

Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-7 (4f), Paul Conroy 0-3, Dessie Conneely 0-1, Paul Kelly 0-1, Gary O’Donnell 0-1.

Mayo

1. David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)

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3. Chris Barrett (Clontarf)
5. Patrick Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)
2. Oisín Mullin (Kilmaine)

6. Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore)
4. Lee Keegan (Westport)
7. Eoghan McLaughlin (Westport)

8. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers)
9. Matthew Ruane (Breaffy)

10. Kevin McLaughlin (Knockmore)
26. Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet)
12. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintuber)

13. Tommy Conroy (The Neale)
14. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
15. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintuber)

Substitutes:

23. Bryan Walsh (Ballintuber) for O’Donoghue (half-time)
22. Jordan Flynn (Crossmollina Deel Rovers) for Loftus (58)
11. Mark Moran (Westport) for Conroy (60)
20. Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis) for K McLoughlin (64)
24. Fionn McDonagh (Westport) for Ruane (72)

Galway

1. Bernard Power (Corofin)

5. Liam Silke (Corofin)
3. Seán Mulkerrin (Aran Islands)
7. Cillian McDaid (Monivea-Abbey)

19. Gary O’Donnell (Tuam Stars)
6. Johnny Duane (St.James)
4. Johnny Heaney (Killanin)

2. Seán Kelly (Moycullen)
11. Paul Conroy (St James)

10. Paul Kelly (Moycullen)
12. Michael Daly (Mountbellew/Moylough)
8. Cein D’Arcy (Caherlistrane)

13. Ian Burke (Corofin)
15. Dessie Conneely (Moycullen)
14. Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin/Clonberne)

Substitutes:

21. Ronan Steede (Corofin) for D’Arcy (23)
17. Gareth Bradshaw (Moycullen) for Duane (27)
18. Kieran Molloy (Corofin) for O’Donnell (45)
9. Damien Comer (Annaghdown) for Burke (50)
25. Gary Sice (Corofin) for P Kelly (63)

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).

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About the author:

John Fallon

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