Connemara Gaels 0-12 Galway 1-8
The Gaels breathed a sigh of relief when the final whistle sounded as the boys from western county Galway led by seven points at one stage only to see the lead evaporate late in the second half. With minutes left on the clock Galway leveled the scores, but wing back Andy Kelly scored the winning point for the Gaels with time running out.
The opening 10 minutes were evenly contested. Galway opened the scoring with a point from Gearoid O’Connor. The Gaels gradually got a grip on the game. Corner back, Pat McNicholas, and wing back Ian Sexton started to get on top of their men, while Rasharkin, Co. Antrim man, Benny Hassan proved to be a pivotal factor in the middle of the field. Featuring four men from west of Galway city, the Gaels forward line rattled off seven unanswered points. Corner forwards Coleman Mulkerrins (Carna/Cashel) and Sean Conneeley (Rosmuc) accounted for most of the scores, while Tom McDonagh (Lettermullen) and Hassan added to a tally that saw the Gaels hold a 0-7 to 0-1 lead at the half.
The Gaels continued to play well in the early stages of the second half and extended their lead to seven points, but Galway had a comeback in them. The tribesmen took advantage of some sloppy play by their opponents to rein in the deficit with points from Danny Reddin and Gearoid O’Connor. Peter Nolan and O’Connor further cut into the Gaels lead, when Reddin hit with a goal as he ran through the Gaels defence and rounded the keeper to fire into the empty net. With the Gaels reeling having seen a commanding lead reduced to a point, O’Connor tied the game for Galway. With the result still up for grabs it was Andy Kelly who rescued the Gaels as with minutes left the wing back latched on to a loose ball and put what proved to be the winner over the bar. Galway almost leveled again, but a gallant comeback ended up falling just short for the Brighton based side.
Gaels: B. O’Halloran, P. McNicholas, H. O’Neill, S. McKiernan, A. Kelly (0-1), I. Sexton, B. Hassan (0-1), S. Cashin, T. McDonagh (0-1), M. Geoghan, L. Gallagher, C. Mulkerrins (0-5), S. Conneeley (0-4). Galway: D. Reddin (1-3), P. Nolan (0-2), G. O’Connor (0-3).
By Rory O'Donnell