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All-Ireland SHC Quarter-Final

GALWAY 3-23 TIPPERARY 2-24

By John Harrington at the LIT Gaelic Grounds

Aidan Harte was Galway’s unlikely hero as his 66th minute goal proved the key score of this pulsating All-Ireland Hurling Quarter-Final.

It was a score worthy to win a game too as substitutes Jason Flynn and Adrian Tuohy did well to move the ball across the field to the defender who had drifted unmarked into space.

The corner-back could have taken a handy point, but instead he backed himself to go for goal and bounced a fiercely struck low shot into the right-hand corner of the net.

Tipperary were now trailing by one point and had been reduced to 14 men by the dismissal of defender Cathal Barrett for a second yellow card on 52 minutes, so they were in a very difficult position.

To their credit they battled right to the end and it was only when Daithi Burke claimed a high ball that landed into the Galway square deep in injury time that the Tribesmen could finally be sure of victory.

These two teams have a habit of going toe to toe and slugging it out whenever they meet, and it was Tipperary who landed the first haymaker of the match when Seamus Callanan goaled on four minutes.

Jason Forde hit a high hopeful ball across the 21 yard line under pressure and as Callanan collected it, his marker Daithí Burke slipped at the worst time possible from his point of view.

A predator like Callanan was always going to exploit a situation like that, and he drove towards goal and finished with typical aplomb.

Noel McGrath pointed a minute later and Tipperary were 1-2 to 0-2 to the good and entitled to be satisfied with how they started the game.

From there, though, Galway started to really get to grips with the contest, particularly around the middle third of the field, which was due in no small part to their ability to retain possession from puck-outs better than Tipperary could.

They were level by the 11th minute when Man of the Match Cathal Mannion turned Niall O’Meara and blasted to the net from a tight angle.

A second Galway goal came 10 minutes later when Conor Whelan danced past Ronan Maher and put through Brian Concannon who finished emphatically to push Galway 2-5 to 1-5 ahead.

But just when it looked like Galway were getting a grip on things, Tipperary produced their best 15 minutes of the championship coming up to half-time as they outscored Galway by 1-8 to 0-3.

Noel McGrath had really thundered into the match by now and would finish with four first half points to his name, while moving Brendan Maher into a sweeping role improved their defensive shape.

Alan Flynn and Michael Breen also took control of the midfield battle, hitting three points between them, and suddenly Tipperary were in a state of flow we hadn’t seen since the 2019 championship.

 

Aidan Harte of Galway celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Galway and Tipperary at LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. 
Aidan Harte of Galway celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Galway and Tipperary at LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. 

 

They’d already drawn level when Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher gave them a major fillip with their second goal of the match on 32 minutes.

Brendan Maher picked out Jake Morris with a nice angled delivery and his shot was parried by Éanna Murphy into the path of the onrushing Bonner.

The Lorrha man fluffed his initial attempt, but was fortunate to have a second bite of the cherry when Shane Cooney lost his footing and this time he made no mistake.

Further points from Breen and O’Meara meant the defending All-Ireland champions were in a decent position by half-time, leading by 2-13 to 2-9.

They stretched that advanced to six points early in the second-half, but Galway hung in there thanks to the accurate free-taking of Joe Canning and some quality point-taking from Cathal Mannion and Conor Whelan.

Even before Barrett’s red-card it was the Tribesmen who were on the front foot as the once six-point gap was down to a more manageable two.

But in a match of fine margins having a numerical advantage for over 20 minutes was certainly a big factor in Galway’s favour.

They drew level by the 63rd minute when Canning followed up a sublime sideline cut with another free, but then Tipperary showed great heart to surge clear again thanks to a fine Willie Connors point and a huge Ronan Maher free.

The pivotal play of the game came when Paddy Cadell charged from the Tipperary defence but his attempted clearance was snuffed by tenacious Galway tackling.

From there Galway moved the ball across field and Harte surely got himself disbarred from the corner-back’s union for life with that brilliant finish for the vital goal.

Galway will be on an emotional high after dethroning the reigning champions in this manner.

Whether they can physically cope with a fresher Limerick team in next Sunday’s All-Ireland SHC semi-final is less certain.

Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-14 (12f, 1 sideline), Cathal Mannion 1-3, Brian Concannon 1-0, Aidan Harte 1-0, Conor Cooney 0-1, Conor Whelan 0-1, Sean Loftus 0-1, Jason Flynn 0-1, Joseph Cooney 0-1, Johnny Coen 0-1,

Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 0-6, Seamus Callanan 1-2 (1f) (5f), Noel McGrath 0-4, Patrick Maher 1-0, Alan Flynn 0-2, Michael Breen 0-2, Dan McCormack 0-2, Niall O’Meara 0-1, Jake Morris 0-1, Barry Heffernan 0-1, Willie Connors 0-1, Ronan Maher 0-1 (f), Brian Hogan 0-1 (f)

GALWAY: Éanna Murphy; Aidan Harte, Daithí Burke, Shane Cooney; Fintan Burke, Gearoid McInerney, Joseph Cooney; Padraic Mannion, Johnny Coen; Joe Canning, Cathal Mannion, David Burke; Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, Brian Concannon. Subs: Jason Flynn for Johnny Coen (ht), Adrian Tuohey for David Burke (ht), Sean Loftus for Fintan Burke (58) , Evan Niland for Conor Cooney (58), Darren Morrissey for Shane Cooney (71)

TIPPERARY: Brian Hogan; Cathal Barrett, Ronan Maher, Brendan Maher; Barry Heffernan, Pádraic Maher, Niall O’Meara; Alan Flynn, Michael Breen; Dan McCormack, Noel McGrath, Patrick Maher; Jason Forde, Seamus Callanan, Jake Morris. Subs: Willie Connors for Patrick Maher (50), John McGrath for Noel McGrath (53), Paddy Cadell for Niall O’Meara (58), Paul Flynn for Jason Forde (65), Mark Kehoe for Dan McCormack (73)

Ref: Johnny Murphy (Limerick)

By Cian O'Connell

Galway and Tipperary's rivalry drips with top quality matches so Cathal Mannion expects another to be added to the list at the LIT Gaelic Grounds on Saturday.

Thrilling All Ireland SHC semi-finals unfolded between the counties in 2015, 2016, and 2017. This weekend, though, a place in the last four is the considerable prize on offer.

It will be hugely different compared to operating at a packed Croke Park.

“I think obviously the build up and going into the stadium and no crowd or whatever is a lot different, even running our before the warm up or whatever," Mannion says.

“Once it’s thrown in, it’s the same as any other game."

Shane O'Neill's outfit learned valuable lessons during the Leinster decider defeat against Kilkenny according to Mannion.

“You are concentrating one what you have to do," Mannion adds. "The intensity was obviously a step up from the Wexford game, the previous game we had played.

“Both teams really went at it. Next Saturday is going to be an even bigger step up. What we did last week won’t be good enough for Saturday. Yeah, it was the intensity of a proper Championship game."

 

Cathal Mannion and Brian Concannon following Galway's Leinster SHC Final loss against Kilkenny last Saturday.
Cathal Mannion and Brian Concannon following Galway's Leinster SHC Final loss against Kilkenny last Saturday.

 

Galway collected the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 2017 and the experience acquired during recent campaigns is important according to Mannion.

“The majority of the players are still there so the player has the experience of playing and winning that All-Ireland, but every year is different and definitely this year, Covid and all, it’s probably more different than any other year," Mannion states. 

"We are just delighted to be back playing.  Obviously when you put on your county jersey you want to win every game. 

"We are delighted to be back playing and we are delighted there is a second chance coming up on Saturday."

Ultimately Galway must summon a response seven days after losing a provincial final against Tipperary. Does the fact that a round robin series was in operation in 2018 and 2019 help teams deal with a Championship loss quicker than before?

“I don’t know, you can look at it either way I suppose," Mannion replies. 

"Everyone knew the format of the Championship before it started. You know what’s at stake before every game.

“We obviously knew last week what was at stake, and thankfully we have a second chance, so yeah just move on and get ready for Saturday, which is going to be a massive game for us.”

 
By Cian O’Connell
 
Padraic Mannion initially missed the roar and hum from the Croke Park crowd, but once the Leinster SHC semi-final got under way it was business as usual.

That splendid success over Wexford illustrated Mannion’s versatility and value to the Galway cause, but the Ahascragh-Fohenagh clubman delivered another effective display.

Shane O’Neill’s first match in charge of Galway culminated in a fine victory to set up an intriguing provincial decider against Kilkenny at GAA headquarters on Saturday evening.

Mannion acknowledges that it took a little time to adjust at the Jones Road venue. “I think when we ran out onto the pitch and maybe a little bit in the warm-up, it was a bit different alright,” Mannion says.

“You are just used to having the noise in the background but once the game is thrown-in it, it was fine and like any other game really.”

In the centrefield exchanges Mannion excelled, but he stressed the importance of always remaining vigilant when Davy Fitzgerald’s Wexford are involved.

“It’s like any game you play against Wexford, it’s very tough and they just challenge you in so many different ways that you just have to be really sharp and really on it,” Mannion responds.

“I think early on, even myself, I was a little bit off it early on and we nearly got caught for a goal. Thankfully we grew into the game and got on top eventually.

“When you play a team like Wexford there’s a certain element of focusing on yourself, but if they have runners from deep forwards have to track. So it’s very different.

 

Padraic Mannion is captaining the Galway senior hurlers in 2020.
Padraic Mannion is captaining the Galway senior hurlers in 2020.

 

“You can have whatever system you want, but you still have to be able to counteract their system. I think that was a lot of it, we were just tracking them a lot and you could end up anywhere really.

“That’s the kind of game it was. We saw a few of our half forwards back, just had to track their men back deep at times, but that’s just the way the game was.”

A familiar foe now awaits at the weekend with the black and amber striped team from Kilkenny bringing the next challenge.

“Different in some ways, but very similar in some ways too,” Mannion remarks about the Kilkenny task compared to the previous outing with Wexford.

“Obviously the fact that they don’t play the he sweeper, they’d be known for playing a more orthodox 15 on 15 as they call it. They’re still an unbelievable team and you never, never have an easy game against them. So I’m sure it’s not going to be any different.”

Galway’s early Championship exit in 2019 and the pandemic this year ensured there was a real sense of relief to return to high stakes action.

“The first game I found myself probably a bit more nervous than I would have been before just because it’s been so long and I had an injury or two myself, so I hadn’t an awful lot done,” Mannion states. “You’d be a bit anxious alright but once you get out it’s great to be out there and you enjoy it.”

The loss to Dublin hurt Galway to the core highlighting the narrow margins of Championship hurling. “We didn’t speak about it as a group,” Mannion remarks. “Maybe individually, for lads it’s might have been at the back of their minds.

“That seems so long ago now. Even the League earlier on seems like a different season altogether now. A long break but with all the club games we feel like we’ve a lot of hurling done in some ways. It was great to get back into the Championship mode again.”

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