Galway blaze way past shell-shocked Mayo

Mayo 1-3 Galway 3-14

Long after the full time whistle on Saturday evening at MacHale Park, many Galway football supporters spilled onto the pitch and pointed their camera phones towards the scoreboard.

This was a scoreline that beggared belief in a fixture usually more conducive to nail bitting tight tussles and it was certainly a result that defied pre match predictions.

Stephen Joyce’s Galway side came in as underdogs but played with an air of confidence and swagger that had the hosts on the backfoot from the opening exchanges.

Playing with a stiff breeze in the first half, Galway dominated the midfield exchanges and built a commanding nine point lead in the process.

Mayo’s only score came from a Liam Byrne goal on five minutes on one of the rare occasions where the home sided penetrated the Galway defence. From there to the end of the half Galway — driven by the superb midfield partnership of man of the match Colm Ó Braonain and Cillian McDaid — were in control and overpowered the Mayo defence with penetrating runs to build up a 0-12 to 1-0 half time lead.

Turning into the elements, the tide didn’t turn even if Galway had to adapt their attacking approach a little. The overlapping runs led to goal chances and the men in maroon converted three with the excellent Kilconly centre forward Conor Marsden notching two and An Spideal wing forward Finnian Ó Lao getting the third to seal a Connacht final spot against Sligo.

Mayo will miss out on a provincial final for the first time since 2007. Losing their captain Barry Duffy in the opening minutes proved costly in the midfield battle but after two superb seasons under Enda Gilvarry where they annexed an All-Ireland and two provincial crowns, a 17 point defeat means plenty of soul searching will begin.

MAYO:

P O’Malley; D Cosgrove, T Keane, J Maughan; P Lambert, R Collins, D Cannon (0- 1); B Duffy, J Burke; D Quinn, J Lyons, R Egan; L Byrne (1-1), J Carr, G Canavan (0-1).

Subs:

J Irwin for Duffy; C Reape for Lambert, C Moran for D Quinn; M Keady for Lyons; P Walsh for O’Malley (Black Card); K Quinn for Egan.

GALWAY:

R Ó’ Belolain; C Mulry, D McHugh, I Kent; S Kelly, L Kelly, J Daly; C Ó Braoinain (0-1), C McDaid (0-4); E Lee (0-5, 2f, 1 45’) C Marsden (2-3, 2f), F Ó Laoi (1-0); C Ryan (0-1), M Boyle, R Forde.

Subs:

C Brady C Ryan;, P O’Donnell for O Laoi; B Goldrick for Forde; E McDonagh for Kent, H O’Toole for Daly.

Referee:

J Gilmartin (Sligo)

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