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Mayo 2-12 Galway 1-14

A dramatic Connacht final concluded in a welter of excitement as Mayo wing back Peadar Gardiner nailed the winning point three minutes into injury time at Pearse Stadium.

Galway trailed by seven points with five minutes remaining, but came close to pulling off an amazing comeback before Gardiner’s late, late intervention.

They struck 1-4 without reply in that five minute period, including a stunning Michael Meehan goal, to level the score as the final whistle loomed.

Mayo responded right at the death, however and a quick Andy Moran free found Gardiner, who landed a superb point under pressure to reclaim the provincial crown.

There was an real crispness to Mayo’s first half football, and John O’Mahony’s team went in 1-9 to 0-7 ahead at the interval.

Backed by the strong wind Mayo dropped long ball deep into Galway territory and they grabbed a 21st minute goal to edge five points clear.

Midfielder Ronan McGarrity’s delivery found Barry Moran and the towering full forward palmed home an opportunistic goal.

Seconds later Moran then turned provider for a smashing Alan Dillon pass as Mayo edged further ahead.

Galway, though, were crafting chances with the returning Nicky Joyce a potent threat inside and could have nicked a goal themselves only for dogged Mayo defending.

It was tense after the restart too and Mayo substitute Conor Mortimer goaled following an incisive run from his brother Trevor in the 61st minute.

The Tribesmen refused to give up and they battled back as Meehan netted a delightful goal, but Mayo remained calm and Gardiner emerged as the last gasp hero.

Mayo: K O’Malley; L O’Malley, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; P Gardiner (0-1), T Howley, A Moran; D Heaney (0-2), R McGarrity (0-1); P Harte (0-1), T Mortimer (0-1), A Dillon (0-2); A Kilcoyne (0-1), B Moran (1-0), A O’Shea (0-1). Subs: D Vaughan for L O’Malley (36 mins), C Mortimer (1-2, 1f) for Kilcoyne (36 mins), M Ronaldson for Moran (52 mins), T Parsons for Heaney (67 mins).

Galway: A Faherty; N Coyne, F Hanley, D Burke; G Bradshaw, D Blake, D Meehan; P Conroy, J Bergin; G Sice, P Joyce (0-1), N Coleman; S Armstrong (0-1), M Meehan (1-4, 2fs), N Joyce (0-8, 5fs). Subs: F Breathnach for Coyne (18 mins), C Bane for Conroy (50 mins), M Clancy for Bradshaw (60 mins)

Referee: J Bannon (Longford).

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