Galway’s Under-21 footballers caused a huge surprise on Saturday night, when they defeated hot favourites, Cork in the All Ireland Semi-Final at Cusack Park in Ennis.
The Tribesmen made the perfect start and led early but Aidan Walsh soon equalised for the rebels. Patrick Sweeney and Mark Hehir increased the Galway lead to two points after eight minutes of play. Donal Og Hodnett reduced the deficit to the minimum before Hehir kicked a fine point for the Galway men soon after.
Michael Boyle fired the tribesmen three ahead again shortly after, before senior star, Ciaran Sheehan hit back for Cork. The sides were level on 25 minutes when Mark Collins scored for Cork. The rebels led for the first time after 29 minutes when Sheehan kicked a fine point from play. Galway’s star man on the night, Mark Hehir soon had his side back on terms but a point from Barry O’Driscoll in added time,saw Cork lead by the minimum at the interval.
The second half was less than 4 minutes old when Galway led again, thanks to Boyle. Barry O’Driscoll, Mark Collins and Ciaran Sheehan then fired over scores to give Cork a four point lead, before Eric Monaghan hit back for Galway.Mark Hehir pointed to reduce the gap to two again and then pointed a free to leave the minimum between the sides.
Cork then suffered a huge blow when Aidan Walsh had to withdraw through injury. Michael Boyle made their task much more difficult when he scored a great goal for Galway minutes later. Cork were well in the game even as the minutes wore on and they really should have been closer, with Sheehan missing a couple of scorable chances. Peter Daly missed an easy chance just before the finish and those in attendance began to sense that it wasn’t going to be Cork’s night.
Three minutes added time were played but Cork could never close the gap,and it was Galway substitute, Michael Farragher who had the final say, kicking his side three in front after 61 minutes. Cork scored a late consolation point but it was not enough and Galway booked their ticket to the All-Ireland Final.