Galway edge out valiant Tipperary
Tribesmen dispatch inexperienced rivals with brace of goals either side of break
Thomas Flynn of Galway slips the challenge of Tipperary’s George Hannigan during the game at O’Connor Park, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photograph: Donall Farmer
So Galway proceed to the All-Ireland quarter-final for a first appearance in in six years where they meet Kerry, as in 2008. For Tipperary that quest to make a first quarter-final will have to wait at least another year, although – as Tipp manager Peter Creedon suggested afterwards – “if there were another 10 minutes here we’d have won”.
This was not the epic battle to make the quarter-finals that the scoreboard suggests, but one brief killing. Galway first slowly then quite suddenly broke the initial resistance of their younger, more inexperienced opponents. Four goals – two each either side of half-time – swung the game in their favour and although Tipp replied later with four of their own, that was at least partly explained by Galway’s mind already shifting on to Kerry.
“Yeah, Croke Park, against Kerry
. Sure you’d have to look forward to it, and I know all the lads in there are dying to get a crack at it,” said Galway manager Alan Mulholland, looking revitalised since his team’s defeat to Mayo earlier in the month
“Kerry will always be tough, they looked formidable against Cork as if they’re back to their best. But we’re delighted to be in a quarter-final. I’m three years in this job and didn’t realise how hard it was to make Croke Park. And once you’re in a quarter-final, you want to go a step further, always. It’s important now that we put in another good performance the next day. Because getting to a quarter-final isn’t good enough.
“And we were disappointed with the Connacht final. This is making up for it a little bit, and the trick now is to go up and give a good account of ourselves in Croke Park.”
There is plenty to suggest that Galway will. Before a slightly disappointing double-bill crowd of 7,837, they played with fantastic pace and energy throughout. Shane Walsh stood out and midfielders Fiontan Ó Curroin and Thomas Flynn, then Danny Cummins and Michael Lundy, struck the four goals for Galway. Although three of those benefited from turnovers that punished some nervy play from Tipp.
Galway’s full-forward line of Michael Martin, Paul Conroy and Cummins finished with 1-7, all from play. Some big names also came off the bench. Seán Armstrong and Damien Comer added 0-3 and there was a period early in the second half, leading by 14 points, 4-11 to 0-10, when Galway threatened to decimate Tipperary.
Instead, spurred on by rising star Colin O’Riordan, Tipp reignited the spirit that almost enabled them to beat Cork in the Munster semi-final. They struck back with four goals of their own, firstly from Brian Fox, then substitute Brian Mulvihall, a long-range stunner from O’Riordan himself, before a late penalty from Conor Sweeney. It added respect to the scoreboard and some curiosity also as to what might have been.