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Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Evan Logan/INPHO Mayo celebrate at the full-time whistle.
# Wild West
Mayo too strong for Galway in gusty Connacht U20 quarter-final
Mayo fell over the line against a Galway side that was second best for at least 55 minutes of the contest.

Mayo 1-6

Galway 1-4

Kevin Egan reports from the Connacht Centre of Excellence

THE ‘WILD WEST’ certainly lived up to the stereotype this evening at the Connacht Centre of Excellence as Mayo and Galway played out a dour and error-ridden contest in extremely windy conditions, with Mayo hanging on to fall over the line against a Galway side that was second best for at least 55 minutes of the contest.

With the breeze blowing straight down the ground, Galway needed to make hay in the first half but instead were completely suffocated by a solid and disciplined defensive performance from the home side.

Cian O’Connell poked over the opening score for Mayo with just under two minutes gone, and fully 14 minutes expired before Galway finally registered a score from wing back Daniel Flaherty.

At times it felt like the Galway players were failing to grasp the significance of the breeze as they allowed Mayo to move the ball side to side across midfield with little or no pressure for long spells, meaning that the clock was winding down, while the Tribesmen also inexplicably chose not to shoot for goal from three separate dead ball chances on the 45-metre line, instead trying – and failing – to engineer a chance by working the ball through a packed defence.

The sight of 29 players operating within 50 metres of the Mayo goal was commonplace, but a good point from Frank Irwin and the concession of just one more score, that to Dylan Brady, left Mayo in a glorious position at the interval, level at 0-2 apiece.

A stunning 45′ into the wind from Nathan Grainger gave Galway hope at the start of the second half, but Mayo continued to dominate the tackle, they continued to get the better of things at midfield, while Galway senior attacker Tomo Culhane was shut out of the game by a stern Mayo defence.

A defensive error opened the door for Jack Fallon to seize possession, sidestep the keeper and tap the ball into the net for the game’s first goal seven minutes into the second half, and that should have been the catalyst for Mayo to push on, given that Galway now had to come out and chase the game.

Mayo’s defensive superiority continued as Galway didn’t threaten a score for the majority of the second half, but Maurice Sheridan’s decision to operate without any forward holding their position meant that a lot of Mayo turnover wins failed to turn into scoring chances, as the ball carrier would get past midfield and be forced to turn back, with no forward ahead of him.

Eventually, three scores in succession from Frank Irwin, Bob Tuohy and Paddy Heneghan pushed their lead out to six, but what should have been a comfortable finish became very nervous when Nathan Grainger drove in along the right end line and floated a high pass across the goal which wasn’t properly dealt with by the Mayo defence. Once the ball hit the deck it was a lottery who would win it, and James McLoughlin, the big Galway midfielder who had been moved to full forward, got the decisive touch for the goal.

Another free from Grainger and the signal for four minutes of stoppage time suggested that a most remarkable smash and grab raid might still be possible but in a contest that was littered with stoppages throughout, Mayo managed to keep Galway at arm’s length and hold out, setting up a Connacht semi-final clash with Leitrim next week.

Scorers for Mayo: Jack Fallon 1-0, Cian O’Connell 0-2, Frank Irwin 0-2 (0-1f), Bob Tuohy 0-1, Paddy Heneghan 0-1

Scorers for Galway: James McLoughlin 1-0, Nathan Grainger 0-2 (0-1 45, 0-1f), Dylan Brady 0-1, Daniel Flaherty 0-1

Mayo

1. Brian O’Flaherty (Islandeady)

2. Alfie Morrison (Louisburgh)
3. Rúairí Keane (Mayo Gaels)
4. Conal Dawson (Westport)

7. Aiden Cosgrove (Kiltimagh) 6. Sam Callinan (Ballina Stephenites) 5. Fenton Kelly (Davitts)

8. Frank Irwin (Ballina Stephenites) 9. Donnacha McHugh (Castlebar Mitchels)

10. Tom O’Flaherty (Aghamore) 11. Dylan Thornton (Ballina Stephenites) 12. Jack Fallon (Mayo Gaels)

13. Cian MacHale (Bohola Moy Davitts) 14. Paddy Heneghan (Castlebar Mitchels) 15. Cian O’Connell (Ballinrobe)

Subs: 24. Mark Cunningham (Castlebar Mitchels) for O’Connell (45 mins), 23. Paul Walsh (Castlebar Mitchels) for MacHale (46 mins), 20. Conor Reid (Bohola Moy Davitts) for Fallon (48 mins), 21. Bob Tuohy (Castlebar Mitchels) for Dawson (53 mins), 18. Seán Morahan (Castlebar Mitchels) for Morrison (60 mins)

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Galway

1. James Egan (St. James)

4. Colm Mac Donncha (Naomh Anna Leitir Mór)
3. Éanna Donohue (Killererin)
2. Conor Corcoran (Moycullen)

5. Rúairí King (Clifden) 6. Jonathan McGrath (Caherlistrane) 7. Daniel Flaherty (Salthill-Knocknacarra)

8. James McLoughlin (Moycullen) 9. Conall Gallagher (St. Michael’s)

10. Rory Donnellan (Corofin) 11. Warren Seoige (Naomh Anna Leitir Mór) 12. Dylan Brady (Corofin)

13. Charlie Power (Salthill-Knocknacarra) 14. Tomo Culhane (Salthill-Knocknacarra) 15. Nathan Grainger (Claregalway)

Subs: 21. Daniel Cox (Moycullen) for Donnellan (half-time) 18. Cormac Greaney (Corofin) for King (40 mins) 23. Evan Nolan (Salthill-Knocknacarra) for Gallagher (48 mins) 22. Jake Slattery (Dunmore MacHales) for Power (53 mins) 24. Liam Ó Conghaíle (An Spidéal) for Seoige (59 mins).

Referee: Michael McGirl (Leitrim)

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