And they’ve now set their sights on Roscommon in the Connacht final.
“Roscommon will have to cross the bridge in Carrick-on-Shannon to win the Connacht final,” said jubilant Leitrim manager Shane Ward after the game referring to their home advantage.
“When you put it into context we were playing the All-Ireland champions. It was no mean feat to go out and beat the All-Ireland champions. Then again it was only a simple game of football.”
“In the first-half we worked hard to stay in touch [with Galway]. I suppose Galway didn’t take their chances.”
The Donegal man believes the Leitrim defence carried the day for his side.
“I have to commend my defenders in the second-half. They were so disciplined when Galway threatened after levelling the game to go three or four points ahead.
“My defenders stuck to the task — made blocks when blocks had to be made — made tackles when tackles had to be made. They made sure nothing passed them from the 45metre line.”
Assisted by the wind Galway, who fielded five of the side that won last year’s All-Ireland, namely Liam Silke, James Shaughnessy, Eoin Walsh, Cathal Mulryan and Ian Burke, led 0-6 to 0-3 at the break.
Galway experienced something of a setback when Mayo referee Liam Devenney dismissed midfielder Michael Day for a 24th minute black card offence. Prior to Day’s departure Galway controlled the exchanges and built up 0-5 to 0-1 lead by the 17th minute.
In the opening seven minutes after the restart Leitrim’s Niall Brady and Galway’s Shane Walsh traded a point each. Following that Leitrim fought like tigers and levelled by the 48th minute with scores from Nicholas Moore, Niall Brady and Cian Clinton. Eight minutes later Clinton edged Leitrim ahead for the first time in the game with a well-hit point.
But two minutes later Galway sub Damien Comer made it level pegging. However Leitrim surged once more and claimed victory 60 seconds later when Niall Brady coolly shot over.
Scorers for Leitrim: N Brady 0-4fs, C Clinton 0-2, D Wrynn (f), N Moore, A McLoughlin 0-1 each.
Scorers for Galway: C Mulryan (f), S Walsh (f) (0-2 each), F Ó Cuanaigh, S Moran G Kelly, D Comer (0-1 each).
LEITRIM: B Flynn; E Madden, N Woods, E Fowley ; J Rooney, J Flynn, K McGriskin; D Wrynn, F McHugh; C Clinton, S Quinn, N Moore; T Mulvey, A McLoughlin, N Brady
Subs: R Flynn for McHugh (37), M Ferguson for Moore (51), M Clancy for Fowley (60).
GALWAY: R Lavelle; L Silke, J Shaughnessy, E Kerin; F Ó Cuanaigh, J Hanbury, E Walsh; M Day, E Tierney; C Mulryan, S Moran, G Kelly; S Maughan, E Brannigan, I Burke
Subs: S Walsh for Day (bc, 23), D Comer for Ó Cuanaigh (51), N Lee for Kelly (51), A Nolan for Walsh (55), B McHugh for Maughan (60).
Referee: L Devenney (Mayo)