By Kevin Egan

The players may be young, but the rivalry is as old as it comes. There is a historical resonance to the idea of Galway versus Mayo that permeates clashes between the teams at all levels, so much so that it can be the dominant theme even when the prize on offer is immense.

That was certainly the case last night at Dr. Hyde Park, when the traditional kingpins of Connacht football competed for the Tom Markham Cup – and for Galway manager Alan Glynn, forgetting about the rivalry and focusing instead on maximising the strengths of his own team, as well as negating Mayo’s strengths, was central to the victory.

“Today wasn’t a day for revenge on Mayo, that wasn’t even our thought process in our head” Glynn said after his team’s 0-15 to 0-9 victory in the 2022 Electric Ireland All-Ireland final.

“We went at it like it was a brand new game and a brand new team. Mayo had produced some excellent attacking football all year and we kept them to nine points, their lowest score all season. The one-on-one in the first two minutes, that was a massive save by Kyle (Gilmore)”.

Glynn spoke about his team’s excellent defensive work, particularly in the full back line where Ryan Flaherty, Vinny Gill and man of the match Tomás Farthing were in top form, but he singled out his goalkeeper as a key player, citing their ability to retain their own kickout as vital to the victory.

“It was the outfield players’ job to provide the space. We said ‘if you do that, Kyle will hit you’, and that’s exactly what happened. It’s very easy to point to a goalkeeper when kickouts don’t go your way, like the last six kickouts against Derry but maybe that’s the best thing that happened to us. It focused our minds and our outfield players knew they had to move and make space. He’s a class act”.

“We really should have got more scores off our own kickouts but what I’m most proud of was the tenacious defending. The blocks, the tackles, we were saying all year to the lads, it gives everyone a boost when we get a block, tackle, turnover and we have pace and space then to take advantage of that going the other way. It worked to a tee”.

After winning both games between the counties in the Connacht championship, Mayo manager Seán Deane dismissed the idea that nervousness was a factor in his team’s defeat, instead citing the difficulty in playing to the best of your ability consistently over a long season.

“I don’t think in any way, shape or form that it was nerves but I do think any team that goes through a championship season and plays eight games, you will get a dip somewhere along the line” said the Breaffy club man.

“Unfortunately, our dip came in an All-Ireland final whereas Galway’s dips came when they could recover from it. That was the difference. If we performed like this in Tuam or Castlebar, well things could be a little bit different” he said, ruefully.

All Ireland Senior Football Championship Semi-Final

Galway 2-8 Derry 1-6

By Cian O'Connell at Croke Park

Following 21 years of watching and wondering, Galway footballers delivered on the grand Croke Park stage.

A first All Ireland final since 2001 beckons for Pádraic Joyce's team, who shrugged off Derry's resistance on a sultry evening in the capital.

Diligent defensively throughout, Galway just had more attacking craft with Damien Comer's two second half goals decisive.

In the dying embers of this battle at GAA headquarters, Comer was withdrawn to rapturous applause.

It was a stirring moment for the maroon and white with Comer spearheading this victory.

At the opposite end of the pitch captain Seán Kelly contributed another wholehearted display, while John Daly's excellence was another key factor.

Initially Galway had encountered some difficulty failing to land any scores from their first five shots.

During that spell Rory Gallagher's Derry registered three points with Brendan Rogers nailing two either side of a Niall Loughlin effort.

Inevitably Comer was the Galway player to respond mining a 22nd minute point and by the time the interval rolled around the teams were level at 0-4 each.

Hawk-Eye had ruled a Shane Walsh 45 on the cusp of half-time was wide, but the officials awarded a score ensuring the issue was delicately poised.

Galway, though, then struck 1-3 without reply which was a significant flurry in such a tight game.

Walsh converted three frees on the spin before Comer made the Derry net dance with a 46th minute major.

Suddenly Derry were under severe duress, but Galway forced turnovers and restricted the Ulster standard bearers.

Shane McGuigan's pointed free terminated a 14 minute search for a second half Derry score, but Galway summoned a reply.

Johnny Heaney fisted over a point and then Comer sealed the deal with a 68th minute goal.

Derry goalkeeper Odhran Lynch had ventured upfield, but when Galway won possession back they moved the ball forward briskly with Liam Silke's pass locating Comer.

The Annaghdown attacker subsequently supplied an opportunistic finish and Galway's final passage had been secured.

Deep into stoppage time Derry substitute Lachlan Murray pinched a goal, but sufficient Galwegian damage had been inflicted.

Joyce, so influential as a prolific forward in 1998 and 2001, has guided Galway to a national decider.

Scorers for Galway: Damien Comer 2-2, Shane Walsh 0-4 (3fs, 145), John Daly and Johnny Heaney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Derry: Lachlan Murray 1-0, Shane McGuigan 0-3 (2fs), Brendan Rogers 0-2, Niall Loughlin 0-1.

GALWAY: Connor Gleeson; Liam Silke, Seán Kelly, Jack Glynn; Dylan McHugh, John Daly, Kieran Molloy; Paul Conroy, Cillian McDaid; Patrick Kelly, Matthew Tierney, Johnny Heaney; Rob Finnerty, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh.

Subs: Finnian Ó Laoi for Heaney (60), Billy Mannion for Comer (68), Dessie Conneely for Finnerty (68), Paul Kelly for Patrick Kelly (70).

DERRY: Odhran Lynch; Conor McCluskey, Brendan Rogers, Chrissy McKaigue; Conor Doherty, Gareth McKinless, Padraig McGrogan; Conor Glass, Ethan Doherty; Paul Cassidy, Shea Downey, Niall Toner; Benny Heron, Shane McGuigan, Niall Loughlin.

Subs: Emmett Bradley for Downey (44), Lachlan Murray for Toner (55), Ben McCarron for Heron (60).

REFEREE: Brendan Cawley (Kildare).

Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship Final

GALWAY 0-15 MAYO 0-9

Kevin Egan at Dr. Hyde Park

There were plenty of aspects to tonight’s Electric Ireland All-Ireland minor football final that were either unusual or unprecedented, including the Friday night setting, the All-Connacht pairing, and of course the fact that one of the two teams – Galway – went into the game having already lost three championship games in 2022.

Two of those defeats came at the hands of Mayo, but Alan Glynn’s side clearly learned all the right lessons from those defeats as they produced arguably their best display of the year tonight, controlling possession and dominating defensively, despite taking on what was comfortably the best attacking team in this championship, averaging 19 points per game before tonight.

The transformation in Galway’s fortunes stemmed from two key areas – their control of the turnover battle, particularly in their own backline, and Kyle Gilmore’s impeccable restarts. Facing into the breeze in the first half, with Mayo choosing to go man for man, the Cortoon Shamrocks player was able to repeatedly pick out a colleague moving into space and put the ball exactly where it needed to go. That gave the Tribesmen front foot ball, which they were usually able to work into a scoring position. Even if the end result wasn’t necessarily a white or green flag, it meant that Mayo spent large chunks of the first half chasing the ball, when they need to try and accumulate a lead.

Consequently, Galway were by far the happier team at half-time, with a two-point lead banked at the end of 31 minutes playing into a deceptively strong wind. Though they were clearly the better team in the second half too, they had far more leeway than the scoreboard might suggest at first glance, given that most of Mayo’s six first half points were scores from distance, and that was never going to be an option when they turned around to shoot into the town end goal.

After a fast start that featured three missed goal chances but no scores – the highlight Kyle Gilmore’s superb stop to deny Niall Hurley - Éanna Monaghan finally got the scoring underway with a free after six minutes.

After getting off the mark through a Cathal Keaveney free in the tenth minute, Mayo had the better of the next ten, and edged in front by 0-5 to 0-4. James Maheady led the way with three glorious points from distance, including one off each foot, but even then, it wasn’t the traditional spell of suffocating Mayo dominance, where the opposition is unable to get any kind of foothold.

Galway kept in touch, they continued to control the ball for at least 50% of the time and usually more, and they were quickly back on terms through Fionn O’Connor.

That was to be the first point of four in succession, including a highlight reel score from Stephen Curley that came from an inch-perfect Gilmore kickout, and while Colm McHale pulled one back for Mayo before half-time, it was still plain to see that Seán Deane’s side needed the faster start once Niall Cullen got the second 30 minutes underway.

Instead Shay McGlinchey and Colm Costello (twice) kicked points for Galway, the last of the three a goal chance that fizzed over David Dolan’s crossbar when a simple handpass across the goal would have left Stephen Curley with a tap in goal.

Trailing by five with a little over 20 minutes to play, the mountain that Mayo had to climb looked steep indeed, but whether it’s minor or senior, that type of challenge seems to bring out the best in them.

Seán Dean’s side duly made a surge, drawing their supporters into the game as they did so. Ronan Clarke kicked two sublime scores, they began to get on top at midfield, and at one stage it looked like Galway were feeling the pressure, with all 15 maroon jerseys back inside their own 45 a couple of seconds before the latter of Clarke’s points.

Crucially however, this strong spell never really told on the scoreboard as much as Mayo needed. There were the big moments, but not necessarily the payoff; such as a fantastic steal and turnover from Jack Keane that set up a Mayo attack, only for it to end with the ball creeping an inch or two too far ahead of Paul Gilmore, just when it looked as if the goal was opening up for the wing back.

Galway’s ball control held firm, their talisman and joint captain Éanna Monaghan dropped into a deeper role and while he didn’t add to his four first half points, he played a fantastic playmaker role, linking up the play and helping to generate the chances that saw Stephen Curley, Charlie Cox and Colm Costello kick the game-clinching scores in the final quarter.

Scorers for Galway: Colm Costello 0-5 (0-2f), Éanna Monaghan 0-4 (0-3f), Stephen Curley 0-2, Fionn O’Connor 0-1, Shay McGlinchey 0-1, Cillian Trayers 0-1, Charlie Cox 0-1.

Scorers for Mayo: Ronan Clarke 0-4 (0-2f), James Maheady 0-3, Cathal Keaveney 0-1f, Colm McHale 0-1.

Galway: Kyle Gilmore; Vinny Gill, Ryan Flaherty Tomás Farthing; Mark Mannion, Cillian Trayers, Ross Coen; Jack Lonergan, Shay McGlinchey; Owen Morgan, Éanna Monaghan, Seán Dunne; Stephen Curley, Fionn O’Connor, Colm Costello.

Subs: Charlie Cox for O’Connor (44), Olan Kelly for Dunne (52), Pádraig McNeela for Mannion (56), Luke Carr for Curley (59), Cian Dolan for Costello (60+1).

Mayo: David Dolan; Colm McHale, John McMonagle, Lorcan Silke; Liam Maloney, Rio Mortimer, Paul Gilmore; Jack Keane, Luke Feeney; James Maheady, Dara Hurley, Diarmuid Duffy; Cathal Keaveney, Ronan Clarke, Niall Hurley.

Subs: Oliver Armstrong for D Hurley (40), Zac Collins for Keaveney (53), Oisín Cronin for Maheady (57), Dylan Gallagher for Keane (59), Seán O’Dowd for Feeney (60+4).

Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh)

By Cian O'Connell

Galway manager Henry Shefflin acknowledged Limerick as 'true champions' following a gripping All Ireland SHC semi-final at Croke Park.

Limerick eventually shrugged off Galway's spirited resistance in the closing stages to eke out a 0-27 to 1-21 win.

In the opening period Galway only registered 0-12 from 27 scoring chances. Galway did nudge in front early in the second half, but just couldn't generate sufficient momentum according to Sheflin.

"We couldn't seem to get that bit of momentum to get two or three points," Shefflin said after the game.

"When we got the goal maybe we went a couple of points ahead, but we never got that bit of a gap there.

"Our shooting efficiency levels let us down, we knew we would have to have a lot of shots from mid range. We knew that was going to be the case.

"Obviously you hope some of them go over. Then I think we coughed up a few silly points in the first half. All of those things come back to bite you a little bit."

Limerick substitute David Reidy was influential with Shefflin highlighting the depth of the Treaty panel.

"To be fair to Limerick they are true champions, we really went at them," he added.

"It was only that last phase - their bench made a bit of an impact, they pulled away a little bit.

"The shooting, and I haven't looked at the numbers yet because numbers don't matter when it is all over. I am sure the shooting efficiency will be low."

Despite suffering a harrowing defeat Shefflin was proud of Galway's gritty display.

"We speak a lot about - especially coming up against such hot favourites - about getting a performance," Shefflin reflected.

"I would have spoken about that myself. That is what was needed. Then you get the performance and you don't get the result. Sport is cruel and you feel the same gutted nature. It is very disappointing.

"You give it absolutely everything. Then it is just all over and you come up a bit short. There were a lot of what ifs and buts.

"From a management point of view and from a group point of view we said we wanted to do ourselves proud on the field today. I think we achieved that."

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