Galway make the cut thanks to convincing final round win

Galway 2-17

Leitrim 1-10

Eanna O’Reilly in Ballinamore

THE Galway minor footballers qualified for a Connacht semi-final against Roscommon following this fourth round group victory over Leitrim in Ballinamore on Friday evening. Neil McHugh’s charges finished narrowly ahead of Sligo on scoring difference, after the Yeats county suffered a home defeat to Mayo, also on Friday.

Seeking a first victory of the campaign, the boys in maroon wasted no time in getting the scoreboard ticking in Ballinamore, with Killian Joyce and Niall De Paor (free) making it 0-2 to 0-0 after six minutes. Leitrim full forward Jack Kelly then opened his side’s account, with a score from the right corner.

Galway then reeled off 1-4 without reply to put themselves firmly in the driving seat. Ferdia Ó’Braonáin, Charlie Killeen, John O’Sullivan, and De Paor tallied points, while Joyce rattled the net after a good run and pass from De Paor.

At 1-6 to 0-1 in front, it looked as though McHugh’s charges had buried their opponents early. However, the home side hit back with a goal of their own. Daire McCabe played a good ball into Kelly, who chipped Galway ‘keeper Jamie King for a neat finish.

Galway’s Seán O’Callaghan and Kelly traded points at either end  to leave the score at 1-7 to 1-2. The remainder of the half saw the sides trade 0-2 apiece. The lively Ciarán O’Donnell and O’Callaghan added Galway scores, while Kelly and McCabe kept Leitrim in touch.

The young Tribesmen took a 1-9 to 1-4 lead into the interval and made a strong start to the second half. De Paor (free) and O’Donnell tallied points, before Charlie Killeen blasted a terrific individual goal, after a pacey run through the centre.

De Paor added a free to make it 2-12 to 1-4, as the visitors showed their quality to pull away. Credit to Leitrim however, they didn’t fold and dominated the next 15 minutes, outscoring the visitors by 0-6 to 0-1.

Pictured: Galway’s Charlie Killeen, pictured in action against Mayo’s Mark Noonan, scored 1-1 in their crucial Connacht Minor Football Championship victory over Leitrim in Ballinamore on Friday night.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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