Galway’s best yet secures passage to Connacht final


SLIGO 1-12

Kevin Egan at MacHale Park

MAYBE, like the rest of us, Galway U-20 footballers just needed the sun to come out.

This week at the Punchestown Festival, there will be plenty of horses that have shown their merit over the course of the full National Hunt season – but the real value will lie in those that haven’t shown their full hand, but are poised to thrive on firmer going.

Derek Savage’s troops fitted that mould last Wednesday night in Castlebar, as they put Sligo to the sword in what was by far their most impressive performance of the championship so far. It was the Yeats County who came into the game with more momentum after they rounded off their group games with a fantastic comeback win against Mayo, but Galway negotiated the course with authority, pinging the early fences and controlling the tempo from then on.

With the wind blowing at their backs for the opening half, Galway wasted no time in taking their chance to do what their senior counterparts never managed the previous weekend at Markievicz Park. They played fast, free-flowing football that put real daylight between the sides, and it was simply a joy to watch.

Twelve points were fired over Ethan Carden’s crossbar, and the only wide was a spilled ball from a tackle – every attempt at the posts resulted in the umpire reaching for the flag.

The foundations were put in place. Shane Canavan took on the task of curtailing the significant threat posed by Sligo attacker Luke Marren, and while Marren did get an early point, it was Ciarán Mulhern’s inability to hold possession that led to the opening, as Rossa Sloyane knocked the ball out of the attacker’s possession and into Marren’s grateful arms.

That moment was the exception that proved the rule, as Canavan did his job superbly, while there were stars dotted all over the pitch.

Pictured: Galway’s Shay McGlinchey, in action against Sligo’s Dylan McLoughlin, produced another big midfield display in their Connacht U-20 football semi-final win at MacHale Park last Wednesday. Photos: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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