Mayo to complete treble over Tribesmen

Galway v Roscommon Connacht Minor Football Round 1 game at Tuam Stadium..Galway�s Shay McGlinchey and Roscommon�s Rory Carthy and Ronan McDermott.
Shaun Casey

Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship: Mayo v Galway (tonight, Dr Hyde Park, 7.15pm, live on TG4)

THE All-Ireland Minor championship comes to an exciting conclusion tomorrow evening as local rivals Mayo and Galway face off in Dr Hyde Park for the first ever all-Connacht decider. The two teams are familiar foes at this stage as believe it or not, this will be their third meeting of the season.

Twice they crossed paths throughout the Connacht championship and on both occasions, it was the Mayo men who reigned supreme. The Westerners topped the round robin group stages with a clean sweep of four wins from four.

That included a huge 14-point triumph over tonight's opponents and although the gap was significantly reduced by the time the sides met in the provincial decider, Mayo still had enough to comfortably see out a six-point victory.

Not only that, but this Galway side head into the All-Ireland final having lost three times in one season, twice to Mayo and once to Leitrim. Worryingly, they were only able to chalk up a combined total of 0-11 across two games against their green and red rivals. Outside of those two encounters, the Tribesmen have been scoring fairly freely.

The 0-10 they managed in their quarter-final win over Dublin was their lowest return outside of the Mayo clashes but they have displayed a keen eye for goal, hitting 12 majors in eight games, including two in their recent victory over Derry in the All-Ireland semi-final.

It took all of Galway’s might to see off the Oak Leafers and they just had enough in the end to book their spot in the All-Ireland minor final for the fourth time in seven seasons, having lost previously in the 2016, ’18 and ’19 finals.

Bellaghy-born Galway midfielder Shay McGlinchey helped Alan Glynn’s men defeat his native county, claiming a first half score, but unfortunately also picked up a black card just before the break.

Top scores Éanna Monaghan (joint captain with McGlinchey’s midfield partner Jack Longergan) and Colm Costello were to the fore in the semi-final, claiming 1-8 of Galway’s 2-9 tally between them.

The deadly duo have been in fine scoring form so far this season with only Down’s Martin McClelland and Joe Quigley of Dublin ahead of the pair in the scoring charts. If Galway are to finally get one over Mayo, they’ll need their forward power to produce the goods.

While Mayo enter this evening's showpiece as obvious favourites given the recent history between the counties, they haven’t been hitting the net as frequently as their opponents.

The Connacht champions march into the final on the back of a seven-game unbeaten run, having seen off the challenge of Kildare and Kerry during the knockout stages of the All-Ireland series.

It’s their defence that’s coming into the game with plenty of praise and they’ll be on high alert and well aware of the threat that Galway pose. Mayo have kept clean sheets in three of their last four outings but did concede three goals against the Lilywhites.

Sean Deane’s youngsters have their own scoring threats as well with attacking aces Ronan Clarke and Niall Hurley the main men up front. Clarke has accounted for 2-9 in the last two outings while top scorer Hurley is responsible for 2-5 in the same games.

While the form books point to a Mayo win, Galway have ground out victories over Dublin and Derry in impressive fashion, so predicting a winner may not be as straightforward as that. Mayo should prevail and pick up their first All-Ireland title at this grade since 2013 and complete the treble over the Tribesmen.