Cork call on calm heads to book meeting with Dublin
Pearse O’Neill, Aidan Walsh and Ciarán Sheehan reel in Tribesmen at headquarters
It was fussy refereeing but attackers at both ends profited.
Cork did always look capable of tearing the maroon defence asunder, but Manus Breathnach was not going to be beaten. He denied Pearse O’Neill in the first half and Mark Collins early in the second. Both were saved from point blank range.
Those heroics prompted Galway to stretch clear, building a five-point cushion as Armstrong, Conroy, Meehan, and Conor Doherty raised white flags before Michael Martin kicked a stunner from the right touchline.
With the exception of Sheehan, and Daniel Goulding frees, so many marquee Rebels were anonymous. Counihan introduced Kissane and Kerrigan to kickstart the revival.
Eventually Walsh went on a gallop through the middle and gave Brian Hurley a sight of goal. Breathnach, brilliantly, denied him any space to breath, never mind get a shot on goal.
Next, Counihan sent Donnacha O’Connor, his All-Ireland winner in 2010, in for Hurley.
Cork had 18 minutes to save their season.
Galway needed to keep going. Gary Sice understood this, sprinting out of defence to land a sumptuous point that kept a goal between them.
Alan Mulholland’s tactical calls from the line were also smart. He kept four players in attack, forcing Cork to mind the house despite the need to force the issue.
Any GAA person worth their salt will tell you the day Armstrong and Meehan click in the Galway attack, any victory is possible. They shared 1-10 this evening, but after Walsh’s goal, points from O’Neill, Goulding, Sheehan and Shields down the home straight edged Cork four clear.
In the game’s last play Galway won a 20 metre free and despite Meehan rocketing to the net, time had run out.
Cork survived. But that’s all they did.
Cork: A Quirke; E Cadogan, M Shields (0-1), T Clancy; D Cahalane (0-1, 45), G Canty, J Loughrey (0-1); A O’Connor, P O’Neill (0-2); M Collins (0-1), A Walsh (1-1), J O’Rourke (0-1); D Goulding (0-6, five frees), C Sheehan (0-2), B Hurley (0-1). Substitutions: P Kerrigan for J O’Rourke (43 mins), P Kissane for J Loughrey (46 mins), D O’Connor for B Hurley (52 mins), P Kelly for A O’Connor (57 mins), J O’Sullivan for T Clancy (59 mins).
Galway: M Breathnach; D O’Neill, F Hanley, J Duane; S Denvir, G O’Donnell, G Sice (0-1); P Conroy (0-2), T Flynn; J O’Brien, S Armstrong (0-4, one free), C Doherty (0-1); M Martin (0-1), M Meehan (1-6, 1-3 frees), D Cummins (0-1). Substitutions: S Walsh for D Cummins (22 mins), M Farragher for J O’Brien (52 mins), F Ó Curraoin for T Flynn (53 mins), A Varley for M Martin (57 mins).
Referee: D Gough (Meath)