Galway are back on track after toppling title holders

Galway 2-16

Sligo 2-12

Ivan Smyth at Tuam Stadium

MATTHEW Thompson’s six points and Galway’s best showing of the campaign saw them defeat a Sligo side chasing a three in a row of Connacht U-20 titles at Tuam Stadium last Wednesday.

Derek Savage’s men now sit top of the table after Leitrim upset the odds to overcome Mayo in a result which throws the Connacht U-20 Championship wide open. Galway entered this contest knowing they could ill afford to lose especially with a tricky away game against Roscommon last night (Wednesday) at Hyde Park, in what is their final contest of the round-robin series.

This loss means Sligo have just one point on the board after their opening two games and puts the pressure firmly on Paul Henry’s men to secure a spot in the top three and progression to the knock-out stages. They fielded 10 of the starting team which lined out in last year’s All Ireland-Final.

For Galway, there was much to admire about this display. In a contest they could ill afford to lose after falling away badly against Mayo seven days prior, their attack was much more efficient. Shay McGlinchey was Galway’s most consistent performer in his first inter-county U-20 contest. Thompson’s six points paved the way with five of those coming in an outstanding first-half display, while Ronan Colleran produced a huge final period performance to help link the play and allow Galway respite when under the cosh.

Sligo could and should have found the net more than twice as they appeared much more menacing than they did a week prior when only registering nine points in their opening round draw with Roscommon. In the end however, three attempts onto the crossbar, one goal effort from point blank range dragged wide, another blasted over the bar and a late save from Galway ‘keeper Eamon McGrath to deny Ross Doherty, meant Savage’s side, who saw all six of the starting forwards grab at least two scores apiece, secured a crucial victory.

Pictured: Galway defender Shane Canavan is chased by Sligo’s Eli Rooney during last Wednesday’s Connacht U-20 Football Championship clash at Tuam Stadium. Photos: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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