Thirty-five years on from the infamous 1983 All-Ireland Senior Football Final when Dublin broke Galway hearts, the Tribesmen had their own 12 apostles to savour as they achieved a third consecutive victory over Mayo.
Victory for the Tribesmen
— Sportsfile (@sportsfile) January 12, 2018
This result will mean little later in the year when the sides clash in the league and championship but the momentum will stand Galway in good stead ahead of their introduction to Division One football.
However, straight red cards for Damien Comer and Sean Andy O’Ceallaigh mean they could miss action though Kevin Walsh won’t be too dejected if it’s just Sunday’s meeting with Leitrim though he’d definitely prefer one more look at the latter against Roscommon on January 21st.
Sean Mulkerrin was the other to see the line from a black card following a yellow meaning he won’t be forced out of any game time.
Galway trailed by 0-8 to 0-6 at half-time against a strong wind in Castlebar. Indeed, conditions put the contest in doubt as incessant rain and wet patches dared suggest a second postponement could occur.
But the MacHale Park ground staff worked extremely hard to ensure action and the 2,679 supporters who attended the Friday night encounter weren’t disappointed with the fare.
Mayo’s Kevin McLoughlin and Galway’s Patrick Sweeney traded early minors before a Shane Nally brace put Mayo 0-3 to 0-1 ahead on eight minutes. McLoughlin and Nally shared five first half scores just two days after returning from the team holiday in Malaysia.
Paul Conroy replied for the visitors before Eamonn Brannigan levelled. And on the quarter hour, Barry McHugh’s first free put Galway ahead.
Galway were working hard putting pressure on David Clarke’s kicks but felt the effect in their legs and Mayo profited from the next four scores. Brian Reape sent over three white flags before a McLoughlin placed ball put three between them.
Conroy reduced arrears on the half hour and the teams shared one more each through McLoughlin and McHugh to put Stephen Rochford’s side two ahead at half-time.
However, Mayo looked in the ascendancy four minutes after the restart when Peter Naughton calmly struck their goal putting them 1-8 to 0-6 clear. But last year’s All-Ireland finalists wouldn’t tally again for 36 minutes as Galway overturned the game.
Whether soccer or football is his immediate future, Padraic Cunningham showed what an asset he could be for Galway. After assisting with three scores before the break, he tapped over two of his own to leave a goal between them on 47 minutes.
And two minutes later, they were level as Sweeney’s low effort deflected into the net. With momentum, Galway pushed on as McHugh and Comer troubled the umpires by the 52nd minute but that was the end of their scoring.
Galway bate Mayo 1-10 to 1-09 despite finishing with 12 men in Castlebar
— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) January 12, 2018
The final quarter became a dog fight as neither side were lacking determination. Comer, Mulkerrin and O’Ceallaigh received their marching orders from referee Paddy Neilan – the former for lashing out after being fouled, the other two for deliberate take downs when Mayo were within scoring range.
Reape contributed a free in the fifth minute of added time but Mayo didn’t have time for an equaliser. It could cost them a final place but with their full squad gradually returning to the set-up, it was the perfect work out for them.
While January football can be something of a lottery, Walsh’s charges are getting ideal questions for the year ahead. They have Leitrim, Roscommon, Tyrone and Donegal before another joust with Mayo. And based on this battle, Pearse Stadium will witness a massive crowd on February 11th.
GALWAY – Patrick Sweeney 1-1, Barry McHugh 0-3, Paul Conroy 0-2, Padraic Cunnigham 0-2, Eamonn Brannigan 0-1, Damien Comer 0-1
MAYO – Brian Reape 0-4, Kevin McLoughlin 0-2, Peter Naughton 1-0, Shane Nally 0-1
Sunday, 14th January – Galway vs Leitrim (2pm Clonbur), Roscommon vs Mayo (2pm Dr. Hyde Park)
Wednesday, 17th January – Leitrim vs Sligo (7pm Ballinamore)
Sunday, 21st January – Galway vs Roscommon (2pm Tuam Stadium), Sligo vs Mayo (Details TBC)
Darragh Small from the42.ie said – “PATRICK SWEENEY FIRED the key goal as Galway got their second win of the FBD League after they battled against the odds with just 12 men late on at MacHale Park in Castlebar.”
Colm Gannon for the Mayo Advertiser stated – “Mayo fall to Galway’s 12 apostles in biblical conditions.”