Second half surge seals win for U20s

The county’s U20 footballers this evening claimed their first win in this year’s Connacht Championship, when they got the better of Galway at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park. Mayo won this Round 2 match by 0-16 to 2-6.

I was still sorting out paying for the Connacht GAA live stream when Galway found the net for the first time in this evening’s game. We’d just opened the scoring from a David Dolan free when Colm Costello broke clear and bore down on goal, passing to Ronan Colleran whose hooked shot found the target.

After they scored from a ’45, Seán Morahan got a nice one from play for us. With ten minutes gone, however, Galway were four to the good and appeared well in charge.

We scored twice in quick succession – Darragh Beirne from a free and Cathal Keaveney from play – but they then broke through for a second goal, this one bagged by corner back Darragh Costello.

We cancelled out that score with three points in succession. After the first of these, a second Darragh Beirne free, we had Seán Morahan black carded and then immediately afterwards Galway’s Shane Canavan joined him in the sin bin.

Niall Hurley, quiet up until then, rammed over despite being under huge pressure and then Tom O’Flaherty ended a rapid downfield move with a fine score. A Costello free edged Galway back three in front but points from play from Darragh Reilly, after we’d turned over their kickout, and Darragh Beirne, cutting in from the left before firing over, left just one between them at the break.

When Galway nabbed the first two points on the resumption, there was no hint then of how this match would play out. Those scores put the visitors back three in front but, incredibly, those points were also their final scores of the evening.

Slowly but surely we began to reel them in. A second Darragh Reilly point was followed by a super one from distance by Finbar McLaughlin to cut the gap to the minimum.

Five minutes passed before the next score but, crucially, when it came we got it. It was a cracking score too, Niall Hurley letting fly at speed to tie the game up.

We then suffered what looked like a huge setback when John MacMonagle got a straight red card for a rough challenge on Conor Heneghan. Given how many agricultural hits the ref had let go at the other end – Finbar McLaughlin taking a bad hit, for example, for which we didn’t even get a free – the red looked extremely harsh.

Galway immediately lost the advantage of an extra player, however, when Conor Costello picked up a black card. To make matters worse from them, Darragh Beirne fired over from the resultant free to put us ahead for the first time since we’d briefly led right at the start.

We closed out the win from there with calm efficiency. Oisín Cronin took possession as he cut through at speed from the left and thumped it over with the outside of his boot. Injury time scores from Tom Lydon and Diarmuid Duffy completed what was in the end a surprisingly decisive four-point win.

With Roscommon and Sligo drawing this evening’s other match, tonight’s victory for us sees us lead the table at this early stage, albeit with Sligo and Leitrim having only played one game each. Next up for us is a Round 3 match against Leitrim at Ballinamore this night week and a win there would leave us well placed to advance to the knockout stage in this increasingly intriguing provincial Championship.

Mayo: David Dolan (0-1, free); Paul Slattery, Eoin McGreal, Lorcan Silke; Seán Morahan (0-1), John MacMonagle, Paul Gilmore; Diarmuid Duffy (0-1), Conal Dawson; Finbar McLaughlin (0-1), Cathal Keaveney (0-1), Tom O’Flaherty (0-1); Darragh Beirne (0-4, three frees), Niall Hurley (0-2), Darragh Reilly (0-2). Subs: Brendan Collins for Silke, Oisín Cronin (0-1) for Slattery, Liam Maloney for Gilmore, Tom Lydon (0-1) for Reilly, Jack Melvin for Hurley.

Our Final Whistle pod from Hastings Insurance MacHale Park will be online for our Patreon club members a bit later on tonight.

11 thoughts on “Second half surge seals win for U20s

  1. All of the front six scored from play and Peadar Gardiner said after the game ‘we are a progressive attacking team’ Basically go out and enjoy your football lads which is great to hear. Keith Higgins involved is a big positive as well.

    There will be times this team gets outmuscled but we must stick with them.
    I don’t recall seeing a group with attacking potential like this. The likes of Beirne,Hurley x2, Clarke, Reilly.

    I don’t want to wish my life away but fast forward 3 or 4 years and we could be in business.

  2. Really enjoyed the game and great to be at a game where it was almost constant attack and all the turnovers added to the spectacle. In the seniors when a team has the ball we have to watch back and over for 2 or 3 minutes at a time whereas tonight it was one team in possession in a second the other team had it and then back again and edge of the seat stuff. Great to see ball kicked into the forwards and as said on the other thread give me u20s over senior anytime as things stand. For me beirne played very well and they outscored Galway 13 pts to 3 when they went 6pts down and left at least 5 more pts after them. Overall well done and roll on next week.

  3. Hurley has plenty of ability but he needs to pass the ball and learn the man in the best position gets the ball, it’s drilled into everyone else bar him. Hope they look into this as it’s a common trend in his game.

  4. A superb refreshing performance. The amount of turnovers despite the clear size difference in the sides.

    I thought Mcgreal/Mcmonaghle and Morahan were excellent second half.
    Our forwards all played their part with an exciting style. Please god by the time they progress to senior this over and back defensive shite will be over with.

    They may get outmuscled in the future but definitely a side to stick with and get behind for the year.

  5. How does u20 championship pan out. Is it top team in league go to final with second and third playing a semi or does 1 play 4 and 2 v 3 or is it top 2 in final. Good win tonight so well done to team and management

  6. 10 euro well spent this evening. Great to watch a game where players on both sides play with a bit of freedom and are willing to take risks in possesion. No medals won tonight but maybe the future of mayo football is in safe hands with these young lads with a young ambitious management team to drive them on.

  7. What a joy it was to watch that game, where we were adventurous, were direct and got the ball forward as quickly as possible. It was a breath of fresh air after the boring sideways safety first dross we had to endure the previous two years-I’d rather lose playing like this than win with the other shite. Lots of good individual peeformances_I mostly noticed the forwards as I was at our attacking end, second half. Finbarr Mc is a real flyer, like his brother, and probably a better all round footballer. Niall Hurley is a serious forward-had a few wides, but scored a few good points and is not afraid to have a go from distance. I was worried when we started the second half with 3 wides, another later and a few into the keepers hands, but we also kicked some beauties. I was too far away from the red card incident, but, for me, he let go some pretty obvious fouls on our attackers second half and how Finbarr Mc did’nt even get a free for a rough frontal challenge beats me. Really looking forward to the remainder of the campaign.

  8. Wasn’t able to watch the first half, and only got to the laptop with 15 mins to go. Managed to hit the wrong button on Willie Joe’s link – bought a ticket for the ‘physical’ match. Said, no I’m not going to spend €20 for 15 mins viewing, then I did just that. Joined at 2-6 to 12, just in time to see McMonagle’s hit, deserved red card. Thought the Galway black was harsh a minute later! From there, all Mayo. They showed a great sense of adventure, and could break lines at will. As they went one, two, three up, I feared a Galway goal as the only possible response, but they kept them at bay very effectively.

    Overall, looked like a big improvement from last week. Agree with Ah ref; Hurley is a special talent, but needs to be managed.

  9. Some craic with the ticket Catcol!

    A Great watch, end to end and far less of the don’t lose possession at any cost rubbish senior football often serves up. A couple of superbly talented players at that level. MacMonagle deserved his red but aside from a mistime/rush of blood to the head with the tackle he had an excellent game. He is only getting better and better every year.

    Young McLaughlin looks like a more refined version of Eoghan. Beirne, Reilly and Hurley is an exciting inside line, you could see the fear for Galway backs when ball was sent inside.

    A big difference in a year or two at this age level in terms of physical conditioning and growth for players.

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