Galway’s minor title hopes fade after heavy home loss


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway’s minor title hopes fade after heavy home loss Galway’s minor title hopes fade after heavy home loss

Mayo 2-13

Galway 1-6

Ivan Smyth at Tuam Stadium

GALWAY’S minor footballers’ hopes of progressing through to the Connacht semi-finals suffered a huge blow as they were outgunned by a slick Mayo outfit at Tuam Stadium on Friday.

Neil McHugh’s side will need to defeat Leitrim in their final group game and hope Sligo lose to both Roscommon and Mayo. Even then it may not be enough. This year’s format is different with a Tier 2 and 3 Championship for sides that don’t reach the Connacht final, but for Galway’s young guns to develop, they would have hoped to progress and play against the top teams in this age grade.

This is a fancied Mayo team with the boys in green and red trying to secure their third provincial title in a row. Based on the evidence thus far, Mayo appear a cut above the rest in the province and genuine All Ireland contenders. Kobe McDonald, son of former Mayo footballer Ciarán, who is part of the backroom ticket, kicked three points while he provided a distinct aerial threat as Mayo destroyed the home side in the middle third.

Although not at his accurate best, McDonald still looks a fine prospect while Evan Walsh was the star of the show as he kicked five points for the winners. Harry McHale and Tom Hession also starred for a sharp Mayo side. All six Mayo forwards scored as Galway once more produced an error prone opening-half display.

The Tribesmen trailed 1-8 to 0-2 at the break but a Charlie Killeen goal 30 seconds into the final half did give brief hope of an unlikely comeback. A McDonald point noticeably settled Mayo before a 37th minute Oisín Deane major effectively ended any faint hopes of a Galway result. The Galway management tried to shuffle the deck as they used five substitutes by the 43rd minute, but Mayo were simply superior in every facet of the game.

David Heaney and Tom Reilly’s side were firm favourites before this affair with the Galway support hoping the sight of the green and red and the need for the home outfit to secure a result could see the underdogs rise to the occasion. However, Mayo simply refused to entertain notions of a shock. They smothered Galway from the outset with an aggressive press with their physical advantages coming to the fore as the Galway players struggled to break the tackle.

Despite a Charlie Killeen point helping Galway arrest a worrying start with Mayo racing 0-4 to 0-1 in front, the winners struck a huge blow in the ninth minute. Kobe McDonald helped Mayo win turnover ball as he provided a clever low pass to Conor Moriarty who teed up Harry McHale to bury a three pointer.

Pictured: Galway’s Donnacha Naughton eyes up his options against Mayo’s David Hurley during Friday’s Connacht Minor Football Championship round-robin tie at Tuam Stadium. Photos: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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