Alan Molloy of Galway in action against Robin Clarke, left, and Sean Claire of Meath during the GAA Football All-Ireland Junior Championship semi-final match between Meath and Galway at Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon.
Alan Molloy of Galway in action against Robin Clarke, left, and Sean Claire of Meath during the GAA Football All-Ireland Junior Championship semi-final match between Meath and Galway at Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon. 

Galway through to All-Ireland Junior Football Final

All-Ireland Junior Football semi-final

GALWAY 7-17 MEATH 5-22 (aet)

By Daragh Small at Dr. Hyde Park

Gary Kelly scored 2-7 as last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists, Galway, reached another JFC decider with a 7-17 to 5-22 epic victory over Meath in one of the games of the year at Dr Hyde Park.

Matt Duggan’s men trailed by 3-9 to 2-5 at half-time in normal time. There were perfect conditions for football and Meath took full advantage in that first half.

The scores went back and forth but Galway were miraculously back in the game when Jonathan Ryan found the net. Meath looked set to hold on but Enda Tierney scored for Galway in the 66th minute.

Meath didn’t trail until 22 seconds into extra-time and Colm Brennan’s goal was the difference in the end.

Meath scored the first six points, but only led by three points coming up to the end of the first quarter. When Meath corner-forward Oran Meehan scored in the fifth minute they were 0-6 to 0-0 in front. 

But Galway grabbed a goal in the sixth minute, Kelly’s speculative ball was claimed by Colm Brennan, and he finished past Adam McDermott.

Kevin Ross (two), Danny Quinn, Stephen Coogan, Morgan Callaghan and Meehan had all scored for Meath, but Galway were right in the game.

Coogan scored a 45 and Kelly cancelled that out. But Meath scored three goals between the 14th and 21st minutes to pull clear.

Jason Scully was influential in all three. He scored the first, after a one-two with Ross. Three minutes later he set up Seán Reilly and then Scully turned provider for Ross to blast past Cormac Haslam.

It was 3-7 to 1-2 with nine minutes of normal time remaining in the first half. Galway hung on in there again, and they scored 1-3 before the break.

Coogan scored another fine effort from a free, but Seán Denvir, Kelly and Thomas Gleeson provided the response. 

On the half-hour mark Galway captain Michael Day passed to Brennan and he set up Padraic O’Donnell, to side-foot a second Galway goal.

Galway had scored 2-5 in the first half, but they still trailed by seven at half-time after Coogan scored a second free.

Quinn pointed for Meath right after half-time but McDermott fumbled Kelly’s high ball, and that ended in the Meath net. 

There were just five points separating the sides before Quinn set up Ross and he blasted low to bring his tally to 2-2 in the 34th minute. But there was no let up.

Kelly was inspirational and he kept them ticking and in the 44th minute he slotted a Galway penalty, after Conor Costello was fouled by Kieran Slavin.

The gap was down to 4-13 to 4-7, and Ryan’s long ball evaded the defence, and substitute goalkeeper Johnny Lynch for Galway’s fifth goal with 11 minutes of normal time left.

When Day scored in the 56th minute the gap was down to the minimum but Scully and Slavin looked to have sealed the win.

However, in the sixth minute of added-time Ryan’s delivery was tapped down by Day, and Tierney scored another goal.

It went to extra-time and Ryan scored two fabulous points within three minutes of the restart. Ross halved the deficit.

The 11th goal of the game arrived in the 65th minute when Meath full-back Michael Flood got forward to score. Galway went back up the other end and Brennan scored his second goal, Ryan and Ross traded points at the end of the half. 

It was 7-14 to 5-20 starting the second half with Ryan, Conor Brady and Kelly on target for Galway. Barry O’Connell and Reilly hit back.

Ryan got a black card for Galway and they finished with 14 men but held on at the death.

Scorers for Galway: Gary Kelly 2-7 (1-0pen, 0-3f), Jonathan Ryan 1-5, Colm Brennan 2-0, Enda Tierney 1-1 (0-1 45), Padraic O’Donnell 1-0, Thomas Gleeson 0-1, Seán Denvir 0-1, Michael Day 0-1, Conor Brady 0-1.

Scorers for Meath: Kevin Ross 2-6 (0-3f), Stephen Coogan 0-6 (0-3f, 0-1 45), Seán Reilly 1-2, Jason Scully 1-1, Michael Flood 1-0, Danny Quinn 0-3, Oran Meehan 0-1, Morgan Callaghan 0-1, Kieran Slavin 0-1, Barry O’Connell 0-1.

GALWAY: Cormac Haslam; Eddie O’Sullivan, Dara O’Ruairc, Thomas Rabbitte; Padraic O’Donnell, Adrian Ward, Seán Ó Currin; Alan Molloy, Conor Brady; Thomas Gleeson, Michael Day, Seán Denvir; Gary Kelly, Colm Brennan, Padraic Éoin Ó Currin. Subs: Enda Tierney for Brady (16), McDara Geraghty for Ward (23), Jonathan Ryan for Ó Currin (31), Conor Costello for Ó Currin (35), Enda Concannon for Rabbitte (40, black card), Lorcan Molloy for Denvir (47), Denvir for O’Donnell (65), Brady for Molloy (69), Aongus Ó hIarnáin for Gleeson (70).

MEATH: Adam McDermott; Cathal McConnell, Michael Flood, Gerard Duane; Kieran Slavin, Morgan Callaghan, James Cassidy; Danny Quinn, Robin Clarke; Robbie Farrelly, Jason Scully, Seán Reilly; Oran Meehan, Kevin Ross, Stephen Coogan. Subs: Johnny Lynch for McDermott (39), Seán Claire for Farrelly (48), Darren Gibney for Duane (51), Tommy O’Reilly for Quinn (58), Barry O’Connell for Coogan (63), Quinn for O’Reilly (60), Kevin McKeon for Callaghan (70), Darragh Finney for Gibney (70), Daire Rowe for Meehan (76).

Ref: Seán Laverty (Antrim).