By Declan Rooney, Pearse Stadium
Galway 4-24 Sligo 1-12
Galway are into their third Connacht football final in a row as Damien Comer’s late brace piled the misery on Sligo at Pearse Stadium today.
Sean Kelly and Ian Burke had already found the net before Comer goaled in the 65th and 67th minutes, although Galway’s win was marred by the late sending off of David Wynne.
With the gulf in class evident from the off, Sligo manager Cathal Corey will be happy with some of his side’s play including Kyle Cawley goal after the restart, but Galway eased to victory in the last quarter and romped to a facile win.
Playing into a light breeze in Salthill, Sligo would have eyed a bright start against their in-form Division 1 hosts and despite Adrian Marren’s early point to cancel out Shane Walsh’s opener, this game was over by the 17th minute.
Seven points in a row from the rampant Tribesmen had them 0-8 to 0-1 ahead by that juncture, with Walsh and Damien Comer doing particular damage to the hopes of Cathal Corey’s side.
Lining up with a more attacking formation than usual with Comer employed by and large in the full-forward line, Galway looked unstoppable at times as Sligo’s marking and tracking of runners left a lot to be desired.
At the other end their poor shooting and shot selection also marred their first half and two in a row from Marren failed to stop the rot early on.
Pat Hughes and Niall Murphy did trim the lead to five points after 21 minutes, but Galway upped their efforts for eight minutes and kicked five points without reply to lead by 10.
After a quiet opening half-hour Liam Gaughan tagged on a couple of good points for Sligo, but in first-half added-time a great Johnny Heaney effort was added to when Comer picked out Sean Kelly with a sweet ball over the top and his low finish gave Galway a 1-15 to 0-6 half-time lead.
There was a brief glimmer of hope for Sligo two minutes after the restart when Kyle Cawley punched to the net after some good build up play from Sean Carabine and Gerard O’Kelly Lynch on the left.
Two in a row from Ian Burke ended those slim hopes though, and 19 minutes from time Burke was on hand to finish to the net from close range when Walsh laid it on a plate for him.
With the win in the bag Galway refused to ease up and Comer hit the net twice in the space of two minutes later on, although David Wynne was sent off in added-time after he picked up a black card to add to his earlier yellow.
Galway: D Comer 2-2, S Kelly 1-2, I Burke 1-2, S Walsh 0-5 (1f), E Brannigan 0-3, B McHugh 0-3 (2f), J Heaney 0-2, P Cooke 0-2, P Sweeney 0-1, F Burke 0-1, G O’Donnell 0-1.
Sligo: Kyle Cawley 1-2, A Marren 0-4 (1f), L Gaughan 0-3 (2f), N Murphy 0-2, P Hughes 0-1.
Galway: R Lavelle; D Kyne, S Ó Ceallaigh, D Wynne; C Sweeney (G O’Donnell 58), G Bradshaw (J Duane 65), S Kelly; T Flynn (M Daly 49), P Cooke; J Heaney, S Walsh (D Cummins 66), E Brannigan; D Comer, I Burke (F Burke 60), B McHugh (P Sweeney 43).
Sligo: A Devaney; C Harrison (L Nicholson 36), R Donovan, K McDonnell; G O’Kelly Lynch (Keelan Cawley 60), A McIntyre (D Cummins 66), E McHugh (F Cawley 63, black card); P O’Connor, N Murphy; N Ewing, L Gaughan, C Henry (S Carribine 21); A Marren, P Hughes (C Breheny 28), Kyle Cawley.
Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan).