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25th Jun 2023

Galway do ‘a Mayo’ and collapse in second half to exit championship

Lee Costello

Lee Keegan

Galway 0-12  1-10 Mayo.

Galway went and did ‘a Mayo’ as they bossed an important match, appeared to have delivered on the big stage, only to collapse in the second half.

Their Connacht neighbours and fierce rivals Mayo are infamous for losing games in the last 10 minutes after putting in a brilliant performance, but it was role reversal on this occasion.

Kevin McStay opted to make four big changes in his starting line up, bringing in Tommy Conroy, Eoghan McLaughlin, Jason Doherty and Kevin McLaughlin, with Padraig O’Hora, Matthew Ruane, Conor Loftu and James Carr all dropping to the bench.

Conroy burned the Galway defence early in the game to kick a fine score, and his starting place felt justified at that point, but in the rest of the half, Mayo really struggled.

They were playing against a strong wind, but their scoring accuracy was a disappointing 33% as they wasted shot after shot in front of goals.

Colm Reape really struggled with the kick outs, and Galway would be disappointed to only score from three of them, considering they won nine in total.

Shane Walsh struggled in this half, missing three free kicks that you normally would expect him to score, and drifting another shot wide, and you couldn’t escape the feeling that the Tribesmen should be a lot further ahead.

With Mayo struggling so much to win their won kick outs, the decision to drop Ruane seems even more bizarre, as he is such a powerhouse in midfield, and is an excellent fetcher of the ball.

It was Matthew Tierney who was the star of the half though, as his pace, directness and ability to win everything in the sky, made him a nightmare for Doherty and CO to deal with.

Both teams took 20 minutes to emerge from the dressing rooms after half time, as both managers clearly had a lot to say and changes to make.

Galway Mayo

Unfortunately for Galway, Comer was forced off with an injury, replaced by Ian Burke, while Mayo took Jason Doherty off for Enda Hession.

It was then role reversals in the second half as the men in green and red came flying out the blocks, with some fantastic stuff from Ryan O’Donoghue and the game really was flipped on its head when David McBrien broke through to get a goal.

Then to add to the momentum, McStay decided to introduce Cillian O’Connor, who has struggled with injuries all season, but had scored 2-06 in a club game last week.

He appeared to carry that form into this game, kicking a wonder score almost straight away, and suddenly the home side were really struggling.

Reape pulled off an incredible save when Tierney broke through to be one on one with the keeper, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

Ruane was finally introduced, and started to bring real energy to the game, but the best move was when Jordan Flynn made a turnover near his own goal, the ball was then picked up by Conroy who passed it on, but continued his run, got it back and popped it over the bar.

Galway did manage to get a comeback going, bringing it back to a single point, but Mayo proved victorious and booked their place in the quarter finals.

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