Galway back in Connacht decider after five-year absence

Sligo run out of ideas at Markievicz Park as Tribesmen set up final date with Mayo

Galway’s Fiontán Ó Curraoin climbs highest to claim the ball during the Connacht SFC semi-final clash against Sligo at  Markievicz Park. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Galway’s Fiontán Ó Curraoin climbs highest to claim the ball during the Connacht SFC semi-final clash against Sligo at Markievicz Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Galway 0-16 Sligo 0-11

Some natural order restored at Markievicz Park as Galway booked their place in the Connacht football final for the first time in five years – edging out a Sligo team that ran them close, but eventually ran out of ideas.

Indeed Sligo had come in with recent back-to-back victories over Galway for the first time in championship history: extending that to three was never going to be easy, especially given Galway’s apparent return to form with a near-thrashing of London in their quarter-final.

Here, Galway raised their game sufficiently enough in the second half to hold off Sligo with plenty in reserve. Young Shane Walsh showed them they way from centre forward with a string a points from play and placed balls, while Danny Cummins was equally lively in the corner. Michael Lundy and Eddie Hoare also underlined their potential, although Sligo’s effort faded considerably towards the end.

So it’s up to Galway now to try to stop Mayo from winning four Connacht titles on the spin, that final showdown set for July 13th in Castlebar. Based on this performance, played at a balmy Markievicz Park before a crowd of 8,250, Galway will need to improve again, but at least they are there.

Galway started without former Kildare star James Kavanagh (replaced by Damien Comer), and the sides were level four times in the first half. Indeed it was point-for-point for the opening quarter – David Kelly’s typically skilful point opening it Sligo, with Cummins striking early on for Galway, too. Sligo captain Adrian Marren also fired over a lovely sideline, much to the delight of the home crowd.

But Galway then started to control things, Fiontán Ó Curraoin and Thomas Flynn acted as a sort of twin towers at midfield, as Cummins added two points, and Shane Walsh broke through for a nice score also. They opened up a three-point advantage, while Sligo’s shooting – and shot selection – went astray. They finished the half with eight wides.

Still Sligo clawed two back just before the break, thanks to Mark Brehony and Marren, leaving just the point in it at half-time: Galway 0-9, Sligo 0-8. That, however, was as good as it got for the home team, as Galway imposed their strength and class to run out five-point winners, while Sligo shot selection continued to go further off target.

GALWAY: M Breathnach; D O’Neill, F Hanley, A Tierney; G Bradshaw, G O’Donnnell (capt), P Varley; F O Curraoin, T Flynn; M Lundy (0-1), S Walsh (0-6, two frees, one 45), D Comer (0-1); M Martin (0-2, one free), E Hoare (0-2), D Cummins (0-4).

Subs: P Conroy for Hoare (54 mins), A Varley for Martin (58 mins), S Armstrong for Cummins (61 mins), J O’Brien for Comer (65 mins).

SLIGO: A Devaney; R Donovan, J Martyn, N Ewing; C Harrison, A McIntrye, K Cawley; J Kilcullen, S McManus (0-1); D Rooney, M Brehony (0-2), B Egan; P Hughes (0-1), A Marren (0-4, one sideline, two frees), D Kelly (0-1).

Subs: B Curran for Harrison (38 mins, inj), K McDonnell (0-1) for McManus (50 mins), N Murphy (0-1) for Rooney, S Coen for Hughes (both 55 mins), G Ryan for Martyn (64 mins), E McHugh for Brehony (65 mins)

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois).

SATURDAY’S OTHER FOOTBALL RESULTS

MUNSTER SFC SEMI-FINAL

Cork 0-16 Tipperary 1-11

ALL-IRELAND FOOTBALL QUALIFIERS ROUND 1A

Limerick 1-16 London 1-13

Laois 1-19 Fermanagh 2-15

Derry 2-14 Longford 2-16

Wicklow 3-12 Offaly 0-17

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