Saturday 16 December 2017

Tribesmen triumph as Higgins sees red

Mayo’s Patrick Durcan walks over to congratulate Galway’s Seán Armstrong after yesterday’s Connacht SFC semi-final match at Pearse Stadium, Salthill. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Mayo’s Patrick Durcan walks over to congratulate Galway’s Seán Armstrong after yesterday’s Connacht SFC semi-final match at Pearse Stadium, Salthill. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

For the second year in-a-row Galway have ended Mayo's Connacht SFC hopes when they did just about enough to hold on for a 0-15 to 1-11 victory in a terrific battle at Pearse Stadium, Salthill yesterday.

Mayo had Keith Higgins sent off in the 26th minute and Stephen Rochford's men missed their fleet-footed, attack-minded defender as they chased the game when backed by the strong wind in the second half.

Cillian O'Connor sloted three late frees to give Mayo every chance deep into added time but the inexperienced Evan Regan illustrated his lack of big-game exposure when firing well wide with two late efforts to bring his side level.

The Tribesmen will now face the winners of the Roscommon versus Leitrim semi-final in the provincial decider on Sunday, July 9.

For Galway forward Seán Armstrong it was an extra special victory as he made his first championship outing since 2014 after retiring from the game. I just can't describe that now. If you asked me a couple of years ago would I be here I'd tell you you're mad. I'm just absolutely delighted I came back."

While Galway will be delighted with their victory that statistic that they only scored twice in the last 30 minutes of action suggests they have plenty to work on.

SCORERS - Galway: S Armstrong 0-6 (3f, 3 '45'), D Comer, G Sice (2f) 0-2 each, E Brannigan, G Bradshaw, J Heaney, S Walsh, M Daly 0-1 each. Mayo: C O'Connor 0-6 (5f), P K McLoughlin 1-1, Durcan, F Boland, D O'Connor, A Moran 0-1 each.

GALWAY: R Lavelle; C Sweeney, D Kyne, L Silke; G Bradshaw, G O'Donnell, D Wynne; T Flynn, F Ó Curraoin; J Heaney, P Conroy, S Walsh; M Daly, D Comer, S Armstrong. Subs: G Sice for Flynn (31, BC), E Brannigan for Wynne (ht), D Cummins for Daly (70), M Lundy for Sice (72).

MAYO: D Clarke; C Barrett, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; D Vaughan, L Keegan, P Durcan; S O'Shea, T Parsons; F Boland, D O'Connor, S Coen; K McLoughlin, C O'Connor, A Moran. Subs: A O'Shea for S O'Shea (48), D Kirby for Moran (48), J Doherty for McLoughlin (58), E Regan for Boland (61), C Boyle for Vaughan (69), D Drake for D O'Connor (73).

REF: J McQuillan (Cavan).

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