All-Ireland MFC semi-final: Galway's second-half goals bury Royals

August 11, 2018

Galway's Oisin McCormack celebrates his side's second goal against Meath in the All-Ireland MFC semi-final at Croke Park ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Galway 3-13

Meath 2-9

Galway are through to the All-Ireland minor football championship final after producing the second-half goods to down Meath at Croke Park this afternoon.

Donal O Fatharta's side struck three goals between the 40th and 46th minutes to turn this semi-final on its head after their opponents had led by four points at the half.

Insider forwards Luke Mitchell and Luke Kelly fired in the first-half goals that looked to have Meath in control and they'd have their lead up to five early in the second-half before the Connacht champions landed a barrage of quick majors to devastate them, setting up a final date with either Kerry or Monaghan next month.

Galway had started this last four clash in decent fashion with speedy wing back Cathal Sweeney ripping through the centre of Meath's defence and sailing over their opening point after two minutes.

Eoghan Tinney forced a superb save out of Meath 'keeper Sean Brennan a minute later and but for that stop and some wayward Galway shooting in the minutes that followed, the Royals could well have found themselves in some early bother.

Instead Joe Treanor's charges composed themselves and took the lead by the 11th minute thanks to the points of Bryan McCormack and David Bell (free).

Sweeney fisted over at the other end to level matters and he'd have the young Tribesmen in front again prior to Meath's next tour on goal reaping them maximum profit.

A sweeping move down the left involving McCormack and Matthew Costello saw the two Royal forwards combine to send Mitchell through in oceans of space and the deadly Dunshaughlin attacker kept his finish low to the Connacht men's net.

Daniel Cox and Costello swapped points to keep the difference at two prior to Aidan Halloran announcing his arrival in this contest with a quick brace of points for Galway.

All of that good work from the Tribe centre-forward would be wiped out in an instant however, as the electric Kelly sent in the Leinster side's second goal two minutes from half-time after cutting in from the right to leave his man for dust and hit the Galway net from close range

The Meath full-forward cushioned his county's lead with a free a minute later, leaving it at 2-4 to 0-6 when the teams went in at the interval.

Halloran's third point looked to hand Galway the restart they'd wanted but in the space of two minutes Mitchell erased it at the far end before Galway half-forward Liam Judge had his afternoon cut short on black card and was replaced by Ciaran Heron.

Sean Coffey took a lay-off from Mitchell to increase the Meath lead to five and the Leinster champions looked like they were cruising until Tinney rocked them with 20 minutes to go.

Galway's no.13 had his goal put on a plate for him by midfield skipper Raftery and two minutes later the ball would be in Meath net again. This time sub Oisin McCormack darted through from the right and after getting fed possession he made the most of his chance by rifling to the roof of Brennan's net.

That strike moved the westerners 2-7 to 2-6 in front and they wouldn't fall behind again as they responded to Mitchell's levelling free with their third goal in the space of just six minutes.

This time centre-back Tony Gill took the pass from Paul Kelly and slipped by Meath's full-back line to roll in a low finish to the right corner.

Raferty, Halloran and sub Tomo Culhane all raised unanswered white flags to up the Galway advantage to six and it left their eastern counterparts with a mountain to climb in the closing stages at headquarters which they never scaled.

Galway now face the winners of tomorrow's clash between Kerry and Monaghan at Croker (throw-in 1.30pm) in the All-Ireland final on September 2nd.

Galway - D Halloran; E Walsh, S Black, C Deane; R Monahan (0-2f), T Gill (1-0), C Sweeney (0-3); P Kelly (0-1), C Raftery (0-1); L Judge, A Halloran (0-4), O Gormally; E Tinney (1-0), D Cox (0-1), M Cooley. Subs: O McCormack (1-0) for D Cox, C Hernon for L Judge (BC), E McCormack for O Gormally, T Culhane (0-1) for M Cooley, C Halbard for E Tinney.

Meath - S Brennan; J O'Hare, H O'Higgins, C Hickey; C Farrelly, C Harford, S Coffey (0-1); A Reilly, C McBride; D Swaine, M Costello (0-1), B McCormack (0-1); D Bell (0-2f), L Kelly (1-0), L Mitchell (1-4, 0-2f). Subs: C Hawdon for B McCormack, N Bennett for A Reilly, B O'Hanlon for D Swaine, O McCloskey for C Farrelly, L Newe for O McCloskey, J Moore for L Kelly.

Referee - N Cooney.

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