Sligo make history by defending their Connacht Under-20 title with one point win over Galway

Dillon Walsh the hero on his 18th birthday as he scores the winning point

Sligo 0-14 Galway 0-13

Substitute Dillon Walsh was the hero for Sligo as he celebrated his 18th birthday by fisting the winning point deep into stoppage time of a gripping Connacht Under- 20 football final at Tuam Stadium.

It’s the first time Sligo have retained a Connacht title in any grade and they were good value for their win in a cracking game which ebbed and flowed.

Galway did the early pressing and led by 0-5 to 0-1 after 18 minutes but Sligo reduced the margin to 0-7 to 0-6 at the interval.

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Sligo suffered a big loss when corner-forward Matt Henry, superb in the semi-final win over Mayo, had to limp off, but his replacement Joshua Flynn made an impact.

Galway again started well after the restart with points from the impressive Cillian Ó Curraoin and Jake Slattery but Sligo, with Luke Marren leading the way, struck the next five without reply to lead by 0-11 to 0-9 going into the final quarter.

Both goalkeepers, Sligo’s Ethan Carden and James Egan of Galway, were superb and the title looked to be heading to Galway when they landed four in a row.

Ó Curraoin supplied two of them and Charlie Power and substitute Maidhc Mac Gearailt also hit the target to lead going into injury-time. But Sligo, who won their first title in this grade last year, were not to be denied.

Marren and Daire O’Boyle kicked points to tie the game and with extra-time looming, the birthday boy burst forward and fisted the winner via the crossbar, much to the delight of the large Sligo following.

SLIGO: E Carden; R Chambers, C Johnston, L Casserly; Dylan Walsh (0-1), D McLoughlin, R Sloyan; C Sheridan, C Mulligan; M McDaniel, R Niland, R Doherty; L Marren (0-7, four frees), D O’Boyle (0-2), M Henry (0-1). Subs: J Flynn (0-2) for Henry (23 mins), Dillon Walsh (0-1) for McDaniel (41), J Kiernan Doherty (47).

GALWAY: J Egan; L O’Connor, E Donohue, C Mac Donncha; B Coen, B Cogger, J Folan; P Egan, S O’Neill; M Thompson (0-1), C Ó Curraoin (0-6, four frees, one ‘45), F Ó Sé; C Power (0-1), S Birmingham (0-1 mark), J Slattery (0-3). Subs: M Moughan for Coen (45 mins), J Lonergan for Folan (47), M Mac Gearailt (0-1) for Ó Se (49), D Kilcommins for Thompson (60).

Referee: Liam Devenney (Mayo).