Monday, August 22, 2016

Senior Football Semi-Final: Galway v Donegal

Donegal 1-11 Galway 4-12

Brighton is all abuzz as the Galway footballers reached their first final since 1989 in a tight game against a fancied Donegal team.  The game was neck and neck until the final 10 minutes when Galway outscored Donegal by 2-4 to 0-3.  Michael Daly, Eoin Finnerty, and James Kennedy were the goal heroes in a strong finish that saw the westerners into the final.

Eoin Bradley has an eye on the goal early in the second half.
The first half was as tight as could be.  There was never more than two points between the teams.  Both teams defended in numbers, however, there were plenty of well taken scores between the teams.  Donegal went into an early two point lead following points from Darragh Kavanagh (2) and Eoin Bradley.  Donegal looked like the better side in the early going but eventually Galway settled.  Cillian O’Sullivan and Michael Daly drew the teams level, and Donegal had a couple of let offs as Galway broke the defensive cover on two occasions only to see the chances go awry.

Galway eventually netted after Daly was pulled down in the area and Kevin Cummins put the spot kick away.  Donegal answered immediately with fine scores from Paddy Bradley and Eoin O’Connor, and it was Galway’s turn to defend.  On a number of occasions a goal was on the cards for Donegal only to see a Galway defender intervene at the last minute and snatch the opportunity away.  Galway went in at the break with a 1-5 to 0-7 lead.

Colm Mannion in possession for Galway.
The second period was no different with the crowd treated to an exciting 30 minutes of football.  Galway needed to get Michael Daly more involved, and the Mountbellew man came up big when needed.  After the sides traded points Eoin Bradley got inside his man and netted to the top corner.  Would the score turn the game in Donegal’s favour?  Galway answered almost immediately with a goal from Daly who had one thing on his mind.  Donegal missed a handful of chances, while Galway twice pointed to put themselves a goal ahead going into the final 15 minutes.

Eoin O’Connor and Kevin Cummins pointed once for each side, and Galway started to play keep ball to try and kill the clock.  The tribesmen picked their moments and finished strong, three points on the trot from Cummins, Finnerty, and Daly was capped by a Finnerty goal.  Cillian O’Sullivan latched on to a loose ball in the middle of the field and combined with Daly to find the open Finnerty who palmed the ball into the open net.  With less than five minutes left Galway led by 2 goals. 

The last few minutes saw Galway add another goal after corner back James Kennedy ran the length of the field and his shot looped into the corner of the net and the celebrations began for Galway.   It was a win that sees Galway into their first final since 1989, when Galway footballers last won the Boston senior football championship.  Wolfe Tones, who looked very well drilled in their victory over Connemara Gaels, provide the opposition.  A great final lies in store at 4:00 next Sunday at the ICC.

Donegal:  B. Flynn, C. Byrne, J. Noctor, C. Russell, G. Brennan, G. Gallagher, R. Caldwell, B. Donnelly, T. Durnin, E. Bradley, E. O’Connor, D. Kavanagh, P. Bradley.   

Galway:  J. Kelly, J. Kennedy, K. McDonnell, S. Cullen, P. Naughton, C. Mannion, E. Kavanagh, E. Stritch, M. Daly, C. O’Sullivan, B. McHugh, K. Cummins, E. Finnerty.

By Rory O'Donnell

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