GALWAY cruised to a fourth ever three-in-a-row of Connacht minor football titles when claiming the last ever provincial crown at this grade, and the county’s 28th in all.
It was a workmanlike performance from the Tribesmen as they easily brushed aside the challenge of a limited enough Sligo outfit in the curtain-raiser on Sunday at Pearse Stadium.
There were several solid displays all over the field, rather than any standout performers, and there was a sense that there is a lot more to come from this Galway team, who won pulling-up. They were always comfortable, and had it wrapped-up 12 minutes into the second half.
Any day you retain a Connacht title with 10 points to spare, is a good day, and yet there is ample room for improvement from the victors, who were wasteful in possession, kicking 10 second-half wides and 13 in all.
It was a contest in the opening half, as Sligo played with the breeze, and got stuck in early but they leaked a goal midway through, which robbed them of the interval lead they so badly craved.
Galway inevitably cut loose after half-time, and probably could have won by more had they put their minds to it.
Conor Campbell, who broke into the starting xv having impressed as a substitute against Roscommon in the semi-final, justified his call up with one of the team’s three goals.
The Claregalway man’s work-rate also impressed – Campbell was hungry for breaks and wasn’t afraid to win the dirty ball at kick-out time.
Matthias Barrett was the engine of the team at centrefield. The Leitir Mór clubman showed leadership throughout but was particularly prominent when turning the screw immediately after half-time, landing two fine points.
Darragh Silke enjoyed an industrious opening 30 minutes, and was one of Galway’s more prominent players early on, hitting four points, including two from play. Oran Burke was solid between the sticks, and in front of him, Seán Mulkerrin, Gavin Burke and Liam Boyle were tidy in a defence that tightened up considerably after Sligo’s early charge and held them to just four scores after half-time.
Pádraic Costello (1-1) was another in attack who stood out in the second half when the game opened up a bit, while midfielder Evan Murphy, who was subdued by his high standards, was responsible for two goal assists, which probably helped put him in the frame for the official man-of-the-match award.
Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune