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  • Sport

Galway won five Connacht S.F.C. titles in the 1980s

Wednesday, 27th July, 2011 1:15pm


THE 1970s, a golden era for Gaelic football with the thrilling rivalry between Kerry and Dublin, was a decade of despair for Galway, losing three All-Ireland senior finals in four years: 1971 (to Offaly), 1973 (to Cork) and 1974 (to Dublin). Sadly for the brilliant youngsters coming through from the 1970 and 1976 All-Ireland Minor winning teams, and the All-Ireland U-21 champions of 1972, there was no major breakthrough in the '80s, but in that decade Galway did excel in the Connacht Championship: winners in 1982, '83, '84, '86, '87.Under the management of Cyril Dunne (Ballinasloe) in 1986 and Billy Joyce (Killererin) in 1987, the players who won back-to-back provincial titles in those two years were honoured by the Connacht GAA Council at Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon last Sunday week, on the showpiece occasion of the football year in the West.Many well-known names of the decade were in both teams and at least ten players in the 1987 panel were winning their 5th Connacht S.F.C. medal.In 1986, captained by Tomás Tierney (Milltown), Galway opened their Connacht Championship campaign with a 2-13 to 3-5 win away to Sligo. In the semi-finals Galway had a home win over Leitrim, 2-15 to 2-8, at Pearse Stadium, and Roscommon eliminated Mayo at Castlebar, 1-11 to 0-12. The final was played on July 13th at Hyde Park, with Galway winning by 1-8 to 1-5. The Man of the Match was on the losing team, Roscommon right full-back Harry Keegan, but although the home team were two points up three minutes from full-time the teak-tough Keegan had gone off injured and Galway sub Steven Joyce, a renowned goal-poacher, pounced for a sensational goal which was a matchwinner.Galway didn't rise to the occasion in the All-Ireland semi-final against Tyrone, winners by 1-12 to 1-9, and Tyrone then lost the final to Kerry, who were adding a Three-in-a-Row to their Four-in-a-Row which would have been an historic five if Séamus Darby hadn't so dramatically won the 1982 final for Offaly.Billy Joyce took from Cyril Dunne at the helm for Galway in 1987 and after a close contest with Leitrim on June 15th at Carrick-on-Shannon (1-10 to 0-10), Galway's next outing was the Connacht final against Mayo on July 13th at Castlebar where the visitors won 0-8 to 0-7.That scoreline didn't augur well for Galway's chances in the All-Ireland semi-final against Cork but they played brilliantly at Croke Park on August 16th: a draw, 1-11 apiece, with Galway unlucky to concede a late equalising point to Larry Tompkins who went on to give an outstanding display as Cork shattered Galway's All-Ireland hopes in the replay, 0-18 to 1-4.


















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