Galway are Connacht minor football champions for the 25th time following a facile 4-12 to 1-8 replay victory over Sligo at Tuam Stadium.
The losers came agonisingly close to capturing their first provincial title at this level since 1968 last weekend but Stephen Joyce's charges made no mistake at the second time of asking tonight, effortlessly winning this replay to take the silverware for the first time since their unforgettable All-Ireland winning year, 2007.
Both sides will be out again in All-Ireland quarter-final action on Bank Holiday Monday, August 3rd: Galway are up against beaten Munster finalists Tipperary next, while there's not much respite for Sligo as they are now due to lock horns with Munster kingpins and defending All-Ireland champions Kerry.
A couple of Galway goals from full forward Paudie McCormack and centre forward Finnian O Laoi in the space of three devastating first-half minutes propelled the victors into an unassailable nine-point interval lead.
Cathal Herron's goal at the other end had ensured that the Yeats County were on level terms by the 15th minute and still with only eight minutes left before the short whistle, 1-2 to 0-5, but the hosts then took complete control and reeled off 2-4 in quick succession to go in at the break in total command, 2-9 to 1-3.
After an even enough opening to the contest, the decisive breakaway commenced when midfielder Cillian McDaid kicked a super point on 23 minutes to give the Tribe a slender 0-6 to 1-2 advantage; McCormack followed up with his goal almost instantly after great work from Ryan Forde to stretch the gap out to four with six minutes left before the interval.
Eric Lee's superbly-struck '45' suddenly made it double scores after 25 minutes and wing back John Daly hammered over a stunning point off the outside of his boot before the rampant winners pounced for their second major on 27 minutes courtesy of O Laoi.
A converted McDaid free on the stroke of half time left ten points between them and when Liam Gaughan fisted over a Sligo point deep into injury time it was clearly too little, too late.
Early points from Nathan Rooney and Kyle Cawley had got the visitors off to an encouraging start but the home team soared ahead with unanswered scores from McCormack (2), McDaid, John Daly and Sean Kelly before Herron's three-pointer tied the scores up for the second and final time at the end of the first quarter. Crucially, the winners would then outscore their opponents by 2-4 to 0-1 in the second quarter…
Cawley and Gaughan registered the first two scores of the second half to pare the deficit slightly but any hopes of a famous comeback were well and truly nipped in the bud when Sean Kelly got forward from right half back to slot a third Galway goal. Gaughan replied with a fine 42nd-minute point: 3-9 to 1-6 and double scores once more.
Conor Marsden, Colin Ryan and Ciaran Brady reeled off three more quickfire Galway scores between the 49th and 51st minutes as the gap went out to twelve. Cawley and Alan McLoughlin mustered late consolation points for the losers but, in between, substitute Desmond Connelly fired a fourth major for the impressive hosts.
Victors by 13 points tonight, Galway will now switch their attention to trying to bag a seventh Tom Markham Cup, while Sligo enter the All-Ireland series at the quarter-final stage for the first time.
Galway - R O Beolain; C Mulry, D McHugh, I Kent; S Kelly (1-1), L O Ceallaigh, J Daly (0-2, 1f); C O Braonain, C McDaid (0-3, 2f); E Lee (0-1'45), F O Laoi (1-0), C Brady (0-1); M Boyle, P McCormack (1-2, 0-1f), R Forde. Subs: C Marsden (0-1f) for R Forde, C Ryan (0-1) for C McDaid, P O Domhnaill for P McCormack, B Goldrick for I Kent, D Connelly (1-0) for C O Braonain.
Sligo - C McGovern; O Gilmartin, E McGuinness, M O'Dowd; N Mullen, F Cawley (0-2, 1f), S Power; D Cummins, P Kilcoyne; L Gaughan (0-3, 2f), N Rooney (0-1f), C Herron (1-0); K Cawley (0-1), P O'Connor, M Gordon. Subs: S Carrabine for O Gilmartin, R Kennedy for C Herron, A McLoughlin (0-1) for P O'Connor, K Banks for D Cummins (BC).
Referee - D Corcoran.Tweet