Defending All-Ireland U-21 football champions Galway crashed out of the Connacht championship at the first hurdle, with Leitrim causing on of the greatest upsets in the competition’s history last weekend.
A one-point defeat at Pairc Sean MacDiarmada somewhat flattered Galway as a hungrier Leitrim side was kicked to victory by Niall Brady.
Featuring eight of last year’s All-Ireland winning side, the Tribesmen started very brightly as points from Cathal Mulryan and Sean Moran helped them to a 0-5 to 0-1 advantage after the first quarter.
Senior full-back Donal Wrynn – operating at midfield – got Leitrim back in the tie with a well struck free in the 18th minute, before Brady’s first put just two points between the sides soon after.
Galway were hit with a black card for Michael Daly, who was replaced by Shane Walsh five minutes from the break and his point before half-time gave Galway a comfortable 0-6 to 0-3 lead at the interval.
But after the restart Galway just went on to score two more points as Brady and Cian Clinton set about levelling the tie 11 minutes from the end. Clinton pushed Leitrim ahead for the first time in the 56thminute, before Damien Comer squared matters, but Brady was the hero as his last minute point clinched a spot in the final against Rocsommon.
Scorers – Leitrim: N Brady 0-4 (1f), C Clinton 0-2, D Wrynn (1f), N Moore, A McLoughlin 0-1 each.
Galway: S Walsh (1f), C Mulryan (1f) 0-2 each, D Comer, G Kelly, S Moran, F Ó Cuanaigh 0-1 each.
Galway: R Lavelle; L Silke, J Shaughnessy, E Kerin; F Ó Cuanaigh, J Hanbury, E Walsh; M Day, E Tierney; C Mulryan, S Moran, G Kelly; S Maughan, E Brannigan, I Burke.
Subs: S Walsh for M Day (BC, 25), K Nally for E Tierney (42), D Comer for G Kelly (51), N Lee for F Ó Cuanaigh (51), A Nolan for E Walsh (55).