By Colm Gannon, MacHale Park
Mayo 0-12 Galway 1-12
Galway came to Castlebar and a final 20-minute push saw them dethrone the five-time Connacht champions on a drizzly night, low on quality but high on heart and commitment from the men in maroon.
The game swung in Kevin Walsh’s sides favour 15 minutes from time when Tom Flynn picked up a loose Mayo kickout and was able to hold his composure to fire the ball low past Robbie Hennelly and pull Galway level for the scoreboard.
Over the final 20 minutes Galway outscored Mayo 1-5 to 0-1 and Stephen Rochford’s side never looked once in the closing stages that they would plug that gap.
Mayo had gone in leading by 0-8 to 0-6 at the short whistle thanks to a late flurry of scores, but the ten wides they kicked in the first half came back to haunt them hard at the end.
Mayo had pushed their lead out to four with 49 minutes gone and when it looked they would push on it to victory, Galway dug in and ground it out.
Flynn’s goal was followed by two scores from Paul Conroy along with points from Gary Sice and Danny Cummins sealed the win.
Galway go on to face Roscommon in the Connacht final, while for Mayo they head into the qualifiers for the first time since Longford dumped them out of it in 2010.
Scorers for Galway: G Sice 0-4 (3fs), E Brannigan 0-3, T Flynn 1-0, P Conroy 0-2, J Heaney 0-1, D Cummins 0-1, S Walsh 0-1.
Scorers for Mayo: C O’Connor 0-6 (5fs), J Doherty 0-1, L Keegan 0-1, C Boyle 0-1, S Coen 0-1, T Parsons 0-1, E Regan 0-1 (f).
Mayo: R Hennelly; C Boyle, K Keane, B Harrision; S Coen, L Keegan, P Durcan; A O’Shea, J Gibbons; T Parsons, C O’Connor, K McLoughlin; E Regan, J Doherty, K Higgins. Subs: S O’Shea for J Gibbons, D Vaughan for C Boyle (BS), C Boyle for D Vaughan, D O’Connor for B Harrision, D Vaughan for K Keane, A Moran for E Regan, A Freeman for T Parsons
Galway: B Power; D Kyne, E Kerin, D Wynne; G O’Donnell, L Silke, G Bradshaw; P Conroy, T Flynn; G Sice, S Walsh, J Heaney; E Brannigan, D Comer, D Cummins. Subs. P Sweeney for D Cummins, A Varley for S Walsh, S Denver for J Heaney , E Tierney for T Flynn (BC)
Ref: Conor Lane (Cork)