Monday, May 02, 2022

Three points from senior panelist Sinead Walsh weren’t enough to prevent the Mayo minors falling to defeat to Galway in their Connacht LGFA minor A final in Bekan on Monday afternoon. Picture: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Connacht LGFA Minor A Final

Mayo                    0-7

Galway                 2-7

Mark Higgins at CoE Bekan

Two first-half goals proved decisive as the Galway minors got the better of Mayo in their Connacht LGFA championship final in the Centre of Excellence in Bekan on Monday afternoon.

Strikes from Niamh Divilly and Marta Banek at the beginning and end of the opening period respectively gave Galway a four-point lead at half-time and despite Mayo’s best efforts to forge a comeback in the second period, the girls in Maroon and White were able to see the game out without any real fuss, four second-half points from full-forward Sarah Duffy sending them on their way to a six-point victory.

Des Philips’ Mayo side battled gamely throughout and enjoyed the better of the play for long stretches here, with the likes of Sarah Mulroy of Westport, Alana Fitzpatrick of Claremorris and the outstanding Saoirse Delaney of Aghamore all to the fore. But they never quite recovered from a disastrous start which saw them fall 1-1 to no score behind after just three minutes and with talismanic full-forward Sinead Walsh held to just three points, all frees, by a lock-tight Galway defence, Mayo were unable to recoup the deficit.

After throw-in was delayed by 20 minutes on account of the preceding Connacht B final between Sligo and Roscommon going to extra-time – Sligo eventually won 4-1 on free-kicks – Galway began this match at a ferocious pace. Midfielder Banek opened their scoring with a point after 60 seconds and they had the ball in the Mayo net a couple of minutes later, Niamh Divilly planting one to the top left corner.

Mayo looked shell-shocked in those opening exchanges and were barely able to move the ball clear of their own ’45, but they eventually began to settle into the game. A Walsh free opened their scoring on 10 minutes and Westport’s Aoife Staunton made it 1-1 to 0-2 a few minutes later with a well-taken point.

Galway responded with a score from Mairead Glynn but Mayo were beginning to gain the upper hand. Delaney took a great long pass from Walsh to turn and fire over and their arrears were back to a single point on 25 minutes as a great run from corner-back Caitlin Henry set up Walsh, who was fouled and converted the free herself.

Mayo had a couple of decent chances to draw level but Walsh, Ciara Nyland and Staunton all had shots fly the wrong side of the post, and they were punished in the most brutal fashion possible as Galway stole in for a second goal just before half-time. Banek was the scorer, soloing through three would-be Mayo tacklers before firing low past Ruth Gibbons to the net.

Galway pressed home their advantage early in the second period, two pointed free from Duffy and a great effort from play from the excellent Aine Shaughnessy widening their lead to seven points at 2-5 to 0-4.

Mayo kept plugging away – Ava Kelly landed a good score from the left wing – but Galway’s lead was back to seven points entering the final quarter as Duffy nailed her third free of the half.

Points from substitute Laura Moran and Walsh, a free after Alannah Devereux was fouled, brought Mayo back to within five with five minutes to play but Galway saw the game out smartly, blocking up the space directly in front of the posts and denying their opponents the slightest sniff of the goal they desperately needed.

A late Duffy score rounded out the scoring for the Tribes and the closest Mayo came to a late goal was when Walsh drew a good low stop from Leah O’Halloran in the Galway nets deep into injury-time.

Scorers – Mayo: Sinead Walsh 0-3f, Aoife Staunton, Saoirse Delaney, Ava Kelly and Laura Moran 0-1 each.

Galway: Marta Banek 1-1, Sarah Duffy 0-4 (3f), Niamh Divilly 1-0, Mairead Glynn and Aine Shaughnessy 0-1 each.

Mayo: Ruth Gibbons; Ciara Durkan, Amy Dunleavy, Caitlin Henry; Sorcha McCarney, Jenna Mortimer, Sarah Mulroy; Alana Fitzpatrick, Ciara Nyland; Hannah Prendergast, Aoife Staunton, Niamh Mooney; Saoirse Delaney, Sinead Walsh, Ava Kelly. Subs: Laura Moran (for Prendergast 23), Alannah Devereux (for Staunton 40), Ria Cafferkey (for Mooney 44), Beth Hoban (for Mulroy 51).

Galway: Leah O’Halloran; Maryanne Jordan, Jaqueline Glynn, Isabel Claffey; Meabh Walsh, Aoibhinn Eilian, Eabha O’Riordan; Marta Banek, Mairead Glynn; Caoimhe Cleary, Aine Shaughnessy, Laura Scanlon; Niamh Divilly, Sarah Duffy, Molly Mulryan. Subs: Ciara Hegarty (for Mulryan 42), Emma Mitchell (for O’Riordan 50), Brendan Naughton (for Claffey 56).

Ref: John Niland (Sligo)

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