Galway survive late Derry scare to reach All-Ireland minor football final

Colm Costello and Eanna Monaghan produced outstanding displays at Parnell Park as Galway survived a late fightback from Derry to reach the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship decider
Galway survive late Derry scare to reach All-Ireland minor football final

IN THE ACTION: Ryan Flaherty of Galway wins possession ahead of his team mates and Eóin Higgins of Derry during the Electric Ireland GAA All-Ireland Football Minor Championship Semi-Final match between Galway and Derry at Parnell Park, Dublin. Pic: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

ALL-IRELAND MINOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINAL 

Galway 2-9 Derry 1-11 

Colm Costello and Eanna Monaghan produced outstanding displays at Parnell Park as Galway survived a late fightback from Derry to reach the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship decider.

With the dynamic attacking duo registering 1-8 between them, Galway led 2-9 to 1-5 after 50 minutes and were seemingly on their way towards a convincing win. 

Six points on the trot from 2020 champions Derry left their travelling supporters on tenterhooks, but Alan Glynn’s charges did enough to advance to a third final in five years.

The Tribesmen enjoyed a dream start to the contest with midfielder Jack Lonergan superbly rattling the net just under four minutes into the action.

The westerners subsequently added to their tally when captain Monaghan split the uprights, and while Derry finally opened their account through a Ciaran Chambers point in the 10th-minute, Costello knocked over back-to-back scores to reinforce his side’s authority.

A Shay McGlinchey point extended their lead, but Derry’s prospects were boosted when Odhran Murphy released Eoin Higgins for a clinically-struck goal on 29 minutes. Although Galway remained three in front at the interval (1-4 to 1-1), a black card issued to McGlinchey in first half stoppage-time presented the Oak Leaf county with a numerical advantage on the resumption.

Yet instead of being inhibited during McGlinchey’s temporary absence, the 14 men from the west were galvanised. Gathering possession on the left-wing three minutes after the restart, Costello proceeded to cut inside and buried emphatically beyond the reach of Derry netminder Ben O’Connor.

Derry did find the range through Ruairi Forbes and Chambers (free) at this juncture, but another two-point salvo from Costello left Galway six to the good in time for McGlinchey’s return. Although Chambers and Higgins continued to fly the flag for the Ulster side, Monaghan came into this own with three eye-catching points from play in the space of five minutes.

To their credit, Derry persisted with their challenge as unanswered points from Johnny McGuckian, Conor Downey, Cahir Spiers and Chambers reduced their deficit to three points at the end of normal time.

The bare minimum separated the teams when Chambers added a brace deep into injury-time, but a wayward strike at goal by Antain Donnelly saw Derry coming up just short in a frantic finale.

Scorers for Galway: C Costello (1-4, 0-2f), E Monaghan (0-4), J Lonergan (1-0), S McGlinchey (0-1).

Scorers for Derry: C Chambers (0-6, 4f), E Higgins (1-1, 0-1f), R Forbes, J McGuckian, C Spiers, C Downey (0-1 each).

GALWAY: K Gilmore; T Farthing, R Flaherty, V Gill; M Mannion, C Trayers, R Coen; J Lonergan, S McGlinchey; S Dunne, E Monaghan, O Morgan; C Costello, F O’Connor, S Curley.

Subs: O Kelly for Dunne (48), J Summerville for O’Connor (57), C Cox for Curley (58), A Colleran for Flaherty (60), P McNeela for Coen (62).

DERRY: B O’Connor; F McEldowney, E Scullion, D McDermott; J Murphy, O Crozier, S Birt; D McPeake, R Forbes; J McGuckian, O Murphy, C Spiers; E Higgins, C Chambers, C Higgins.

Subs: C Downey for C Higgins (39), A Donnelly for Scullion (41), D McGurk for Birt (52), J Dillon for Murphy (53).

Referee: S Laverty (Antrim).

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