Galway's Seán Kelly: we parked Mayo win immediately

Kelly and his teammates have overcome tests from Mayo and Leitrim on the way to the Connacht final.
Galway's Seán Kelly: we parked Mayo win immediately

Seán Kelly of Galway in action against Pearce Dolan and Cillian McGloin of Leitrim in the lead up to his side's third goal during the Connacht GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Galway captain Seán Kelly said they parked their Castlebar win over Mayo in the opening round and made sure they got their feet back on the ground straight away again.

They backed up that 1-14 to 0-16 win over Mayo with a 4-20 to 0-9 hammering of Leitrim to set up Sunday’s Connacht final showdown with Roscommon at Pearse Stadium.

The win over Mayo was a poignant game for Kelly and his brother Paul as they lined out a day after their grandmother died. Mary Bridget Kelly was a staunch Moycullen and Galway supporter for decades, whose only son Padraig ‘Dandy’ Kelly played for the county for years before he died suddenly 21 years ago.

‘Dandy’ Kelly’s legacy is being continued by his sons and on Sunday Seán, who won a Sigerson Cup medal earlier this year with brothers Paul and Eoghan, will hope to lead them to the Connacht title.

He said the win over Mayo was vital and a big boost to the Tribesmen in their third year under manager Padraic Joyce.

“The last two years now they’ve beaten us, and we were disappointed in the last Connacht final. I got dragged down the game before that so it was a bit disappointing losing by a point that day. It was great to get over the line the last day and it’s something we’ve been building to, when coming up against Mayo we knew the challenge we faced and it was brilliant to get the result.

“Mayo are one of the best teams in Ireland, they’ve been around there for how many years, so just winning that gave us a good confidence boost but we know what Roscommon are going to bring to us now so it’s kind of just a clean slate again and focus all on Roscommon now and prepare as best as we can.” The two sides know each other inside out, having met three times since January. Galway beat them by 1-18 to 1-16 in the door arena at the Connacht Dome in the FBD League final back in January.

Then in March Galway, having fielded an understrength side having already qualified for the Division Two league final, went down by 1-20 to 1-15 at Hyde Park, but while they were back to full strength a week later for the final in Croke Park, a goal from Diarmuid Murtagh saw the Rossies win the title by 1-20 to 0-22.

That win means Roscommon are still the only unbeaten side left in the country this year and Kelly knows that has to give Anthony Cunningham’s a boost.

“I always say, winning is a habit so it was a disappointing defeat but Roscommon are a great team and they’re going to be tough to beat and we know that. They’re going to be that same side and it’s going to be tough to beat,” added 25-year old Kelly.

The Moycullen man’s versatility is a huge advantage to Joyce and his management team and Kelly has taken over at full-back after Seán Mulkerrin suffered a serious knee injury playing alongside him for NUIG back in January.

But that hasn’t stopped Kelly still charging forward at every opportunity and he intends to continue his surging runs, with Liam Silke also adept at running from his own full-back line as well.

“We have a good relationship now between us, one goes and the other sits. He’s a great attacker and a great threat for us going forward so it’s the same thing.

“I used to be a forward when I was younger, so I’ve always kind of wanted to attack, but being in the full-back line as well, the last thing a forward wants to do is be following you a hundred yards up the pitch so when I go, if they don’t follow me I’ll be free and if they do come I know they’ll be tired for a while anyway.

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