Galway break Sligo hearts to take Connacht under-21 title
The Yeats men forced the game to extra time before Galway’s quality told with two goals
Sligo and Galway players tangle during their EirGrid Connacht GAA Under 21 Football Championship Final at Markievicz Park. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Sligo 2-14 Galway 3-20 (After extra-time)
Two goals from substitute Seán Kelly in extra-time finally saw red-hot favourites Galway past Sligo in a thrilling U21 Connacht final at Markievicz Park.
Kelly palmed two balls to net from close range in the first half of extra-time, after Kyle Cawley’s late penalty helped Sligo to level matters at the end of ordinary time, 2-13 to Sligo, 1-16 to Galway.
Sligo enjoyed a fine first half and were deserving of their 1-7 to 0-5 lead, with the goal finished by the excellent Alan McLoughlin after Ronan Ó Beoláin had saved Cawley’s initial effort.
But the Tribesmen enjoyed a blistering start to the second half, with Cein D’Arcy pointing inside 10 seconds and Micheál Daly slapping home their first goal two minutes in.
The home side never let their heads drop, and went back in front led by the outstanding Patrick O’Connor and Liam Gaughan.
Man of the match Cillian McDaid then drove forward to hit two big points to edge the visitors back in front, and further scores from Robert Finnerty, Kelly and Eoin Finnerty put them two clear.
McLoughlin was fouled by Ó Beoláin for the penalty confidently converted by Cawley, but Robert Finnerty’s free had Galway ahead again in injury-time.
But the drama continued as Gaughan pointed the free to force extra-time after Eddie McGuinness was fouled.
Unfortunately that was as good as it got for the Yeats men, as Galway’s goals in extra-time ended their hopes of a first ever title at this level.
SLIGO: D Cafferkey; E McGuinness, L Nicholson, M Gordon; G O’Kelly-Lynch, P McNamara, S Power; D Cummins, P Kilcoyne; S Connolly, P O’Connor (0-5, 3f), J O’Reilly; K Cawley (1-2, 1-0 pen), A McLoughlin (1-2), L Gaughan (0-4, 2f).
Subs: S Carrabine for Connolly (35), N Mullen for Cummins (44), J Perry (0-1) for McLoughlin (54), K Banks for Nicholson (59), B Mahon for McGuinness (65), D Cummins for Kilcoyne (65), D Kilgallen for O’Kelly-Lynch (68).
GALWAY: R Ó Beoláin; L Kelly, S Ó Ceallaigh, R Greene; K Molloy, D McHugh, C McDaid (0-3); P Cooke (0-2, 1f), C Brennan; A Ó Laoi (0-1), M Daly (1-3, 1f), C Brady (0-1); R Finnerty (0-5, 3f), P Mannion, D Conneely.
Subs: C D’Arcy (0-3) for Brennan (28), S Kelly (2-1) for Ó Laoi (29), E Finnerty (0-1) for Brady (30), E Lee for Mannion (39), M Boyle for Conneely (49), C Haslam for Ó Beoláin (55), C Brennan for E Finnerty (black card FT), C Mannion for Kelly (75), P Ó Curraoin for Molloy (78), W Finnerty for McDaid (78).
Referee: P Neilan (Roscommon).