Galway turned a five point half-time deficit, 0-4 to 0-9, into a five point winning margin as they claimed the Damien Reid Cup; a national tournament for U15 Gaelic Football Development squads last Saturday afternoon in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.
National U15 Gaelic Football Tournament Final: Damien Reid Cup - Longford 0-10 Galway 2-9
Longford produced a strong performance in the first half and they established a deserved five point lead going in at the break.
However, Galway were a completely different proposition in the second half. Galway scored their first goal in the 36th minute and they added a second in the 48th minute.
Also read: Longford GAA results scoreboard
Unfortunately, Longford’s first and only score of the second half didn’t arrive until the 54th minute.
Interestingly, reflecting the depth of talent at their disposal and considerably bigger population, Galway had three U15 squads in action in last Saturday’s finals - Galway West faced Cork, Galway Mid took on Offaly, while it was Galway North that made the trip to Longford.
Just two minutes had elapsed when Longford opened the scoring; Matthew Flynn passed to Conor Hogan who fisted the ball over the bar. Hogan scored his second minutes later and a pointed free from Ross Doherty in the fifth minute gave Longford a three point cushion, 0-3 to nil.
A great ball in from Matt Duffy ended with Colm Coyle pointing over. Caolan Lynch and Duffy added points as lively Longford extended their advantage to six points, 0-6 to nil, by the 11th minute.
Galway registered their first score of the game in the 13th minute when Keelan Murray pointed. Cormac Greaney followed up with a neat point and a pointed free from Sean Hansberry reduced Longford’s lead to three points, 0-6 to 0-3, by the 23rd minute.
Coyle kicked over a good point in the 25th minute and he added another, one minute later to put five between the sides, 0-8 to 0-3.
Murray replied with a converted free for Galway in the 28th minute while a fisted point by Hogan saw Longford go in at half-time five points ahead: 0-9 to 0-4.
There was a strong crossfield wind, not really favouring either side, and very few saw Galway’s power packed concluding half performance, where they outscored Longford by 2-5 to 0-1, coming.
The new half wasn’t long underway when Longford had a chance to grab a goal; Lynch and Doherty exchanged passes before Doherty had a shot but hit his effort flew wide. At the opposite end, Ciaran Donnellan made no mistake scoring a goal for Galway, and this score suddenly put the home side firmly on the backfoot.
Points from Greaney and Murray saw Galway draw level by the 43rd minute, 1-6 to 0-9.
It was all Galway at this stage as Longford struggled to gain possession to try and get back into contention.
In the 44th minute a point from Murray put Galway ahead for the first time in the game. Minutes later he grabbed a goal to put four between the sides, 2-7 to 0-9. He pointed over a free in the 51st minute and then a neat score from Greaney extended Galway’s lead to six points in the 52nd minute, 2-9 to 0-9.
Longford, despite battling bravely, only managed to register their first point of the second half in the 54th minute when Cormac Harte fired over the bar.
In the final minutes Longford piled on pressure as they tried to eat into Galway’s lead but the Tribesmen defended excellently as they held on for the win.
LONGFORD: Oisin McManus; Joe Morrissey, Conor Smith, Aaron Smyth; David Moorehead, Adam Donnelly, Jack Gallagher; Cormac Harte (0-1), Caolan Lynch (0-1); Conor Hogan (0-3), Dan O’Shea, Matt Duffy (0-1); Colm Coyle (0-3, 0-1 free), Ross Doherty (0-1 free), Matthew Flynn.
Subs: Gavin Farrelly for D O’Shea (23 mins), David Keenan for D Moorehead (half-time), Daniel Egan for A Smyth (43 mins), Eoin Kinlan for C Hogan (45 mins), Ronan Courtney for R Doherty (49 mins), Oisin Flynn for J Gallagher (52 mins)
GALWAY: Ronan Lynch; Michael Gerard Davis, Jack Connolly, Oran Geraghty; Conor Dunleavy, Eoin Brady, Cillian Geraghty; Donal Loftus, Cian Flannery; Jason Cunningham, Cormac Greaney (0-3), Thomas Hynes; Mark Connolly, Keelan Murray (1-5, 0-2 frees), Ciaran Donnellan (1-0).
Subs: Declan Henaghan for C Donnellan (10 mins), Sean Hansberry (0-1 free) for D Loftus (18 mins), Donnellan for MG Davis (half-time), Loftus for M Connolly (37 mins), Adam McGreal for T Hynes (47 mins), Aaron Comer for Donnellan (60+3 mins)
REFEREE: Ken Daly (Westmeath)