GAA: Mayo retain Connacht title with seven-point win over Galway at McHale Park
Last Updated: 13/07/14 7:01pm
Mayo captain Andy Moran lifts the Nestor Cup
Mayo are Connacht champions for a fourth successive year after a 3-14 to 0-16 victory over Galway at McHale Park.
James Horan’s side strengthened the ties with the 1951 team by becoming the first team to win four provincial titles in a row since that gilded generation.
Like last year, they gave their neighbours a consummate performance of power, slickness and experience to win handsomely in front of a crowd of 26,738.
Unlike last summer, however, there was no collapse from Galway and even when they were left reeling from a succession of cleverly taken goals by Mayo, they kept on plugging away.
Still, there was no disguising the fact that Mayo still firmly hold the balance of power. Second-half goals from Jason Doherty and Barry Moran ended Galway’s brave attempts to cause an upset.
From the opening period, the Tribesmen found it difficult to break through the intense Mayo press across the mid-sector, and their cause was made more difficult by the fact that they were playing into a stiff breeze.
Galway looked to take the Mayo defenders on one-on-one but got precious little joy out of that policy as Mayo moved into a four-point lead.
The score which silenced the visiting support came in the 24th minute and originated in another long, high and hopeful ball into Danny Cummins which Mayo’s Chris Barrett claimed before launching a swift counter attack.
Cillian O’Connor carried the ball along the Galway endline before squaring a ball for the onrushing Keegan to palm home. That left it at 1-6 to 0-2.
It was important that Galway didn’t collapse and they didn’t. A flick pass from Conroy sent Gareth Bradshaw in on goal but his shot crashed off the woodwork and Conroy and Cummins kicked late points to leave the Tribesmen trailing by 1-9 to 0-5 at half time.
Galway started the second half strong, with Walsh hitting the crossbar as they reduced arrears to four points, but Doherty’s goal on 47 minutes ended their comeback hopes.
Nine minutes later, Moran ended the game as a contest when he punched the ball to the net via the crossbar, with Lee Keegan again the architect.
Moran drew the game’s lone black card, dragging Conroy down as the Galway captain charged through on goal, but Rob Hennelly produced a terrific save to deny Shane Walsh from the penalty spot.
Mayo: C O’Connor 0-8 (5f), J Doherty, L Keegan 1-1 each, K O’Loughlin 0-3, B Moran 1-0, A Dillon 0-1.
Galway: S Walsh 0-8 (5f), P Conroy 0-4, S Armstrong 0-2, M Lundy, G Bradshaw 0-1 each.