Finnian Ó Laoi, Galway, and Mark Diffley, Leitrim, in Connacht SFC action at Pearse Stadium.
Finnian Ó Laoi, Galway, and Mark Diffley, Leitrim, in Connacht SFC action at Pearse Stadium.

Connacht SFC: Galway cruise to victory

Connacht Senior Football Championship Semi-Final

Galway 4-20 Leitrim 0-9

By Cian O'Connell at Pearse Stadium

This was a satisfactory afternoon for Galway, who adequately dealt with Leitrim's challenge in Salthill.

Two goals from substitute Patrick Kelly decorated Galway's win as Padraic Joyce's outfit set up a May 29 Connacht decider against Roscommon.

With Cillian McDaid and Paul Conroy craving involvment, Galway dictated the second quarter following a gutsy Leitrim start.

Inevitably Andy Moran's charges were defiant early on and only trailed by 0-5 to 0-4 after 21 minutes.

Ryan O'Rourke was prominent for Leitrim, but Galway enjoyed a productive burst when reeling off four points without reply.

Shane Walsh, McDaid, Rob Finnerty, and Patrick Kelly all contributed scores before Ryan O'Rourke responded with a neat point.

Galway, though, concluded the half strongly as Walsh steered over two frees, while Paul Conroy nailed a point as the locals departed armed with a 0-12 to 0-5 advantage.

Within three minutes of the restart Kelly pounced to net a goal after a Walsh free kick had caused panic in the Leitrim defence.

Galway subsequently edged 1-15 to 0-7 ahead when Kelly palmed a second major following sharp approach work by Walsh and Seán Kelly.

Another Galway replacement, Niall Daly, added a third goal when his deflected shot crossed the line in the 62nd minute. That steered Galway 3-18 to 0-7 clear as Leitrim were under severe duress.

A Galway spell yielding 2-6 on the spin illustrated the maroon and white dominance. Leitrim did clip a couple of late points in the dying embers, but Galway replied with an Owen Gallagher goal to seal the deal.

Scorers for Galway: Patrick Kelly 2-1, Shane Walsh 0-6 (5fs), Niall Daly and Owen Gallagher 1-0 each, Cillian McDaid and Rob Finnerty (1m) 0-3 each, Paul Conroy 0-2, John Daly, Finnian Ó Laoi, Matthew Tierney, Johnny Heaney, and Dessie Conneely 0-1 each.

Scorers for Leitrim: Keith Beirne and Ryan O'Rourke (1f) 0-2 each, Donal Wrynn, Conor Dolan, Ciarán Cullen, Tom Prior and Riordan O'Rourke (m) 0-1 each.

GALWAY: Connor Gleeson; Jack Glynn, Seán Kelly, Liam Silke; Dylan McHugh, John Daly, Kieran Molloy; Paul Conroy, Matthew Tierney; Finnian Ó Laoi, Damien Comer, Johnny Heaney; Cillian McDaid, Rob Finnerty, Shane Walsh.

Subs: Johnny McGrath for Glynn (8-11 mins), Patrick Kelly for Ó Laoi (28-HT, blood), Patrick Kelly for McHugh (HT), Owen Gallagher for Heaney (49), Niall Daly for Tierney (51), Tomo Culhane for Comer (58), Dessie Conneely for Conroy (60).

LEITRIM: Brendan Flynn; Conor Reynolds, Paddy Maguire, Mark Diffley; Shane Quinn, Donal Casey, David Bruen; Donal Wrynn, Pearce Dolan; Conor Dolan, Mark Plunkett, Ciaran Cullen; Ryan O'Rourke, Shane Moran, Riordan O'Rourke.

Subs: Tom Prior for Cullen (33), Keith Beirne for Moran (HT), Dean McGovern for Dolan (42), Cillian McGloin for Quinn (47), Evan Sweeney for Plunkett (58).

REFEREE: Paul Faloon (Down).