By Cian O'Connell

Pádraic Joyce was thrilled that Galway simply found a way to defeat Derry 2-8 to 1-6 at Croke Park.

Level at the interval, Damien Comer netted two goals after the restart as Galway earned a first All Ireland SFC Final appearance since 2001.

"There is a sign in the dressing room going out the door saying to find a way," Joyce says.

"You have to find a way - whatever goes on. You are not always going to win a game by kicking 2-19 or 2-20, the most pleasing part is the lads did find a way.

"They eked it out, they put the shoulder to the wheel, worked really, really hard. They took the hits, they gave the hits, I think they completely snuffed Derry out.

"I think Derry are a brilliant side, they have had a fantastic year. Rory [Gallagher] has the lads in great shape."

The fact that Galway eventually shrugged off Derry's resistance pleased Joyce.

"It was great to win the game obviously, it started out very tight and very cagey," Joyce reflected.

"In the first half you can try to get the lads ready for whatever scenarios you think, but we didn't think it would be that defensive or slow.

"We were a little slow getting going ourselves, we were lacking energy. It was extremely humid out there, believe it or not, lads found it hard to get their second wind. We came in at half-time four-four.

"Just in the second half we said we would be a bit more brave, show a bit more energy going forward. In fairness we did, we tagged a few points on after half-time."

Three Shane Walsh frees were followed by a Comer major which steered Galway six clear.

"The goal then was a crucial turning point by Damien," Joyce added.

"He turned his man really, really well. It was a great ball in by John Daly, he turned and stuck it really, really well. From then on we were five or six points up with a cushion, it was easier to manage the game- the lads managed the game really well.

"They had been criticised before for the last couple of games for not managing them out right, but today they did - in fairness to them."

Galway's attitude and application which repeatedly forced turnovers during the game impressed Joyce.

"They did, it was great," Joyce replied. "Semi-finals are for winning, it mightn't be pretty at times. We have won it and we have a final to look forward to in two weeks time.

"We are going to enjoy tonight, we are going to enjoy the build up for the next two week."

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).

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