Debutant Martin Farragher helps Galway book place in Connacht final

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Martin Farragher came off the bench to score 1-1 in his inter-county debut as holders Galway beat Sligo at Markievicz Park to book their place in another Connacht final.

Kevin Walsh’s side will look to make it two-in-a-row in the province for the first time since 2003 next time out.

Galway were 0-5 to 0-3 in front after they played against a strong breeze in the first half. Both sides missed numerous chances in front of goal but most of the half was spent around midfield.

Liam Silke and Johnny Heaney blasted second-half goals and Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh was sent-off before substitute Farragher scored his goal.

It was a hectic opening salvo with Sligo captain Niall Murphy and Galway corner back Liam Silke on target inside three minutes, but there wouldn’t be another score for a quarter of an hour.

Corofin’s club footballer of the year Kieran Molloy departed with a serious-looking injury in the 15th minute when he collided with a combination of Shane Walsh and Sligo’s Paul Kilcoyne.

That was a huge blow for Galway but the players responded well on the field after the introduction of Gary O’Donnell. Galway scored three points in a row between the 18th and 24th minutes.

Debutant Martin Farragher helps Galway book place in Connacht final

Fiontán Ó Curraoin sent over a nice point from the right, Walsh added a free and Michael Daly scored a brilliant effort from another tight angle to put Galway a goal in front.

Walsh could have scored the first goal of the game shortly afterwards, but he blazed his shot right and wide of Eamonn Kilgannon’s goal.

Sligo were still in the game despite being dominated and a couple of points from Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch and Kilcoyne reduced the arrears to the minimum on the half-hour mark.

Silke doubled his tally with two minutes of normal time remaining and a poor first half finished on a desperate whimper.

The second half started as the first had ended and Michael Daly drove two Galway chances wide. Sligo opened the scoring through Murphy’s second free.

Galway’s first point of the half arrived through Walsh and he tapped over a free for a 0-7 to 0-4 advantage with seven minutes gone.

Galway ripped Sligo to shreds in the 44th and 45th minute when first Heaney fisted across and Silke tapped into the net. And then Michael Daly’s shot came back off the post and Heaney was there to finish the killer second goal.

Debutant Martin Farragher helps Galway book place in Connacht final

Murphy continued to take the fight to Galway, and he landed an exquisite score with the outside of his boot in the 50th minute, adding a similar effort two minutes later.

Then Seán Carrabine squeezed in a point from the left and all of a sudden there was just two goals between the teams. But those scores were consolations as Walsh tagged on his third free.

Michael Daly scored and substitutes Eamonn Brannigan and Farragher (goal) were on target either side Ó Ceallaigh’s second yellow card.

Scorers for Galway: L Silke 1-2, S Walsh 0-4 (3f), Martin Farragher 1-1, J Heaney 1-0, M Daly 0-2, F Ó Curraoin 0-1, E Brannigan 0-1.

Scorers for Sligo: N Murphy 0-4 (2f), G O’Kelly-Lynch 0-1, P Kilcoyne 0-1, S Carrabine 0-1.

GALWAY: B Power; E Kerin, SA Ó Ceallaigh, L Silke; K Molloy (G O’Donnell 16), G Bradshaw (J Duane 68), J Daly; T Flynn, F Ó Curraoin; S Walsh, M Daly, J Heaney (C McDaid 65); A Ó Laoi (R Finnerty 61), I Burke (Martin Farragher 66), D Cummins (E Brannigan 55).

SLIGO: E Kilgannon; P Laffey, Michael Gordon (N Ewing 53), P McNamara (L Nicholson 66); A McIntyre, D Cummins, N Mullen; G O’Kelly-Lynch, P Kilcoyne; K Cawley (K McKenna 61), P O’Connor (D Quinn 68), Mikey Gordon; S Carrabine, P Hughes (A Marren 53), N Murphy.

Referee: Ciaran Branagan (Down).

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