At half-time in today’s Connacht final at Pearse Stadium, the outcome looked pretty settled. Galway has seized control in the second quarter to lead by five at the break. All they seemingly had to do now was to toss out the shawl and see the game out. It didn’t quite work out like that.
Fair play to Roscommon. After a fairly wretched first half they utterly dominated this contest on the resumption, outscoring Galway – who managed just a single point from play in the entire second half – by 1-8 to 0-2 to complete a nine-point turnaround and win the Nestor Cup by four points.
It’s the Rossies’ second Connacht title in three years and a very sweet one at that. When the provincial draw paired us as likely semi-final opponents we viewed such a possible meeting as a relatively straightforward way of making the final. I’d say Galway saw them in much the same light ahead of today’s final. We both have the same wounds to lick now.
The Rossies’ win over us means we’ve still got three rounds of the qualifiers to navigate before we can start dreaming of the Super 8s, while Galway now have a tricky Round 4 tie to get through before they’re in a position to do the same. Roscommon, however, are tonight the first county into this year’s All-Ireland Series and are, no doubt, already licking their chomps about the three high profile Super 8 ties ahead of them. Style on them.
I wasn’t at Pearse Stadium myself today – the peripatetic sampling of this year’s Championship that the young buck and I have been doing this summer took us down to Semple Stadium this afternoon to catch the disappointingly drab hurling clash between Tipp and Limerick – so I didn’t see the Juniors go under narrowly to Galway in the day’s curtain-raiser at Salthill.
By the sounds of it, Galway always had the edge in this contest. They got the game’s only goal early on and that score gave them a lead they’d never relinquish. Four up at the break, the home team stretched that lead to seven points early in the second half and they looked on their way then to an easy victory.
But it was anything but easy for them from there to the finish. Galway added just one more point to their tally while the Mayo lads tacked on seven points at the other end. The comeback came up just short, however, with Galway holding out to win by just a single point, on a scoreline of 1-7 to 0-9. Hard luck to our lads, in what was a case of so near but yet so far for them today.