Mayo crowned Connacht champions

  • Jul 17,2006

BANK OF IRELAND CONNACHT SFC FINAL

Mayo 0-12 Galway 1-8

Conor Mortimer won a 41st Connacht SFC title for Mayo with a stoppage time free at Castlebar.

A disappointing decider came to a gripping climax, as Michael Donnellan failed to send over a free kick chance that would have sent the tie to a replay in front of a sell-out crowd of almost 35,000.

Mayo contrived to kick themselves out of it in the first half, with nine wides and at least two missed goal chances.

Despite enjoying less than ten per cent of possession, the Tribesmen opened up a two point lead through Joe Bergin and Padraig Joyce inside the opening 10 minutes, before Conor Mortimer finally opened Mayos account from a free.

It was Mortimer who got in for a couple of goal opportunities. First his fisted effort was easily stopped by goalkeeper Brian ODonoghue, and moments later, when ODonoghue fumbled Kieran McDonalds dropping delivery, the Mayo full forward got a hand in only to see the ball trickle agonisingly along the goal line and out.

Having shot seven wides by this stage, Mickey Morans men did eventually begin to find their range. McDonald drilled over a 45 and a free from 50 metres, and Mortimer thumped over a sublime long range effort.

It was Galway, however, who finished the half strongly, scores from Michael Meehan (2) and Sean Armstrong sending them in at the break with a 0-5 to 0-4 lead.

It was an amazing scoreline at that stage, considering that Mayo had been almost totally dominant. They had won 13 kick-outs, thanks chiefly to Ronan McGarritys dominance, to Galways four.

The game finally sparked into life when Matthew Clancy fisted a goal from substitute Damien Dunleavys pass eight minutes into the second half.

When Joyce added a point from a free, Galway led by 1-7 to 0-6.

Mayo responded with three more, the best of them fisted over by Billy Joe Padden to cap a delightful passing movement.

As the game slipped into its final 10 minutes, the Tribesmen were clinging on to a slender one point lead.

Mayo substitute Kevin ONeill fired over the equaliser three minutes from the end of normal time, and it was Mortimer who held his nerve to steer over a difficult 13 metre free from a tight angle to seal the Mayo victory.

Mayo: J Healy, D Geraghty, L OMalley, K Higgins, D Heaney, J Nallen, P Gardiner, R McGarrity, P Harte (0-1), BJ Padden (0-1), G Brady (0-1), A Dillon (0-2, 2 frees), A Moran, C Mortimer (0-4, 2 frees), K McDonald (0-2, 1 free, 1 45).
Subs: K ONeill (0-1) for Moran, T Mortimer for Brady

Galway: B ODonoghue, A Burke, F Hanley, D Burke, D Meehan, D Blake, M Comer, N Coleman, M Donnellan, M Clancy (1-0), C Bane (0-1), J Bergin (0-1), M Meehan (0-2, 1 45), P Joyce (0-3 2 frees), S Armstrong (0-1).
Subs: D Dunleavy for Armstrong, B Cullinane for Coleman, K Fitzgerald for Burke, P Clancy for Dunleavy

Referee: P Russell (Tipperary)

Wides: Mayo 12, Galway 12

Yellow cards:
Mayo: K Higgins, D Heaney, D Geraghty, A Dillon
Galway: D Burke

Red cards: None.

Attendance: 34,613