Galway produced a superb display to stun favourites Kerry in an exciting All-Ireland U-21 football semi-final at Cusack Park, Ennis.
The Tribesmen led from start to finish and never allowed the Kingdom take control, with Gerry Fahy’s men responding well when Kerry threatened a comeback in the second-half.
Galway opened up a 1-07 to 0-01 lead after just ten minutes as they used the strong wind from the outset.
They got off to a great start when a string of passes set Dessie Conneely up to crack home a goal after just 21 seconds and stun Kerry.
Galway built on that with Peter Cooke dominating at midfield and Michael Daly leading an attack which moved at pace.
Kerry struggled to get into the game, although Conor Geaney got them off the mark with a free in a rare attack.
Wing-back Kieran Molloy went forward to score and make it 1-07 to 0-01 after ten minutes, but then Galway fluffed a couple of great goal-scoring chances with Robert Finnerty shooting wide and Eoin Finnerty unable to hold possession with just goalkeeper Shane Ryan to beat.
Kerry, boosted by those let-offs, hit back with a free from Sean O’Shea before Killian Spillane got their first point from play eight minutes from the interval.
Kerry stopper Ryan went forward to convert a free from 45 metres but Galway had the final say of the opening half when Cooke got his third point of the match with a free to lead by 1-09 to 0-04 at the interval.
Kerry started the second half as Galway did the first with Matthew O’Sullivan forcing home a goal.
But Galway responded with a point from Cooke and it was the Galway midfielder who again hit back after a couple of Matthew Flaherty points.
Ryan went forward again to shoot his second point and Spillane, son of Kerry star Tom, also pointed to cut the gap to three.
But Sean Kelly hit back for Galway and then midfielder Barry O’Sullivan picked up a second yellow and Kerry had to play the final 12 minutes with 14 men.
Galway killed the game with three points in rapid succession and then sub Colin Brady sealed it with a goal, although there was time for Jordan Kiely to shoot a consolation effort for Kerry.
Final score: Galway 2-14 Kerry 2-10
Galway: R O Beolain; L Kelly, S O Ceallaigh, R Greene; K Molloy (0-01), D McHugh, C McDaid (0-01); P Cooke (0-05, 0-03f), C D’Arcy (0-01); S Kelly (0-02), M Daly (0-02), P Mannion (0-01); R Finnerty (0-01), E Finnerty, D Conneely (1-00).
Subs used: C Brady (1-00) for Mannion (41), M Boyle for R Finnerty (54), C Brennan for D’Arcy (56), E Lee for McDaid (60).
Kerry: S Ryan (0-02, 0-02f); Tom Leo O’Sullivan, J Foley, Tom O’Sullivan; B O Beaglaoich, B O Seanachain, G White; A Barry, B O’Sullivan; B Barrett, S O’Shea (0-01, 0-01f), M Flaherty (0-02); K Spillane (0-04, 0-03f), M O’Sullivan (1-00), C Geaney (0-01, 0-01f).
Subs used: M Burns for Barrett (29), R O Se for O Seanachain (41), J Kiely (1-00) for S O’Shea (45), J Morgan for White (55), D O’Brien for O Beaglaoich (60).
Referee: B Cawley (Kildare)
Joe Canning hit seven points and reigning league champions Galway saw off Offaly by 0-33 to 1-11 at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise.
Galway were 0-16 to 1-06 ahead at half-time after they answered Oisin Kelly’s early strike with a brilliant half of free-flowing hurling.
Portumna ace Canning scored five points in the first-half and Conor Whelan did the rest of the damage in the second-half as he finished with seven points from play.
Galway have only ever won one Leinster title, back in 2012, but they will face the might of Wexford in a novel provincial final pairing at Croke Park.
Micheal Donoghue’s side were huge favourites coming into this final four clash having breezed past Dublin in the quarter-final, following on from their massive league final success against All-Ireland holders Tipperary.
There was a slight breeze behind Galway in the first-half but they fell behind early when Kelly crashed home a goal in just the fourth minute.
He showed great strength to hold off his marker John Hanbury and finish low into Colm Callanan’s goal but Galway retained their composure and hit their stride.
Points from Padraic Mannion, Cathal Mannion, Conor Whelan and then Conor Cooney saw them take the lead for the first time in the seventh minute.
Galway scored nine points from play by the 20th minute, and then Canning tapped over his first free three minutes later. Galway were still pilfering chances in front of goal and Niall Burke and Jason Flynn were among those guilty of missing opportunities.
Galway ended the first-half with seven wides and but crucially Canning was central to everything – he scored five points, with four coming courtesy of frees in the opening half.
Shane Dooley was keeping Offaly within range, he landed six points in the opening 35 minutes, but Galway were too good and the surging runs of half-backs Aidan Harte and Padraic Mannion were doing massive damage.
Galway were 0-16 to 1-06 ahead at the break and a couple of early Whelan points put Galway completely out in the clear.
Offaly still only had two scorers, with Dooley adding a point but their opponents sailed through the gears. James Dempsey pulled off a fantastic save to deny Shane Maloney in the 50th minute.
But Galway were utterly dominant and when Maloney scored his third point to give them a 0-24 to 1-07 lead in the 51st minute.
Whelan and Niall Burke extended their lead further in the latter stages and Offaly had no answer as they finished with just four different scorers on the day – Galway had nine.
Galway: C Callanan; A Tuohy, Daithi Burke, J Hansbury; P Mannion (0-02), G McInerney, A Harte (0-03); J Coen (0-02), David Burke; J Flynn, J Canning (0-07, 0-06f), N Burke (0-05); C Whelan (0-07), C Mannion (0-02), C Cooney (0-01).
Subs: S Maloney (0-04) for C Mannion (24), M Donohue for P Mannion (55), S Loftus for Tuohy (58), E Burke for Canning (61), P Brehony for David Burke (62).
Offaly: J Dempsey; B Conneely, D Shortt, E Grogan; S Ryan, S Gardiner, D King; P Murphy, S Kinsella; P Guinan, J Bergin, E Nolan (0-01); S Cleary, S Dooley (0-09, 0-05f, 0-01 65), O Kelly (1-00).
Subs: L Langton (0-01) for Cleary (42), P Camon for Ryan (52), S Quirke for Guinan (54), D Doughan for Murphy (61), J Mulrooney for Kinsella (63).
Referee: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary).