Nine points from Young Footballer of the Year, Cillian O’Connor, proved to be the difference as Galway surrendered their provincial and All-Ireland U21 FC crowns in last night’s Connacht preliminary round clash in Castlebar.
Extra-time was required before the neighbours could be separated, the sides finishing level (1-10 to 0-13) after an hour’s enthralling action, in front of 3,000 spectators.
The sides were level six times during a helter-skelter match but Mayo’s persistence and determination eventually paid off, with O’Connor converting two late frees to break the stalemate.
Mayo got off to a flying start with Conor O’Shea drilling in a brilliant goal after only six minutes to ease them into a 1-2 to 0-1 lead.
However, Galway came roaring back and were ahead 0-8 to 1-3 by the interval with Peadar Ó Gríofa and Eric Monaghan both hitting the target for the Tribesmen from frees.
Mayo had fallen four points behind early in the second half, but they stuck to their task and Galway needed a late score from Adrian Varley to force extra-time.
Scorers for Mayo: C O’Connor 0-9 (7fs), C O’Shea 1-0, E Regan (1f), D Coen 0-2 each, M Forde 0-1.
Scorers for Galway: P Ó Gríofa (2fs), E Monahan (3fs) 0-4 each, P Cunningham 0-2, C Costello, N Walsh, A Varley, C Rabbitte, P Sweeney 0-1 each.
MAYO: P Mannion; M Walsh, N Freeman, D Gavin; C Crowe, S McDermott, M Forde; D Kirby, D Geraghty; A Farrell, A Walsh, C O’Shea; E Regan, C O’Connor, D Coen.
Subs: J Shaughnessy for Farrell; B Harrison for Gavin; C Walsh for Coen; A O’Toole for Shaughnessy.
GALWAY: M Breathnach; G Sweeney, J Duane, J Shaughnessy; C Costello, C Sweeney, C Halloran; B Flaherty, T Flynn; C Rabbitte, P Cunningham, S Maughan; P Ó Gríofa, P Sweeney, E Monahan.
Subs: N Walsh for P Sweeney (inj); A Varley for Maughan; A Molloy for Cunningham; D Wynne for C Sweeney.
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo).
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