Canning factory boosts output
Under-21 Hurling All-Ireland Semi-final: Galway 4-21 Cork 2-18They say a good, hard match is worth a month of training sessions. But the old adage came under severe scrutiny at Semple Stadium on Saturday.
The Galway hurlers arrived at the cathedral of hurling without a single competitive match under their helmets; their preparation to face the match-fit Munster champions had been mostly confined to practice on the fields of Athenry far from the cheering crowds.
"We had a few friendly matches against the Waterford intermediate team and the Athenry club side, and we even got a match against Dublin's under-21s - but in fairness the Dubs did not turn up with the full deck," said Vincent Mullins, the Galway manager.
Mullins was of course delighted with the outcome, but it did not change his mind about a system that leaves Galway isolated in Connacht.
"The structure is wrong and is something that should be seriously looked at in the interest of hurling," he said.
Galway progress to meet Seán Lane's Dublin in the final in Croke Park on September 9th.
"We thoroughly welcome the chance of playing the Dubs in Croke Park," added Mullins. "What manager or player outside the Pale would not?"
Saturday's game provided brilliant entertainment, the lead changing hands repeatedly until the teams stood level, 2-16 apiece, at the end of ordinary time. However crucial goals from Barry Hanley and Kerril Wade in the first half of extra time proved vital for Galway. Both sides could justifiably claim they had been unlucky not to clinch it at that stage.
Seán O'Gorman, the Cork manager, identified a period early in the second half as the the turning point, the winners tacking on a goal and a point after Cork had led by 2-8 to 1-9 at half-time.
Man of the match Joe Canning got the point and supersub Conor Kavanagh got the crucial goal.
Canning scored seven points, two from sideline cuts, and was a constant threat to the Cork defence. The talented Portumna clubman also had a pivotal role in the creation of several of his team's scores.
Senior star John Lee and Ger Mahon also played key roles for Galway while impressive goalkeeper James Skehill made a number of superb saves.
Galway's substitutes also paid their way, Kavanagh netting at the opportune time and another replacement, Hanley, grabbing an excellent goal of his own.
The Cork defence, for their part, had a stalwart in centre back Eoin Cadogan , who policed his bailiwick with great skill and energy.
In the Cork attack, Cathal Naughton was outstanding without always enjoying the bounce of the sliotar.
"We did not deserve to lose by nine points," said O'Gorman with some justification. "There was much in the game that we can be satisfied with, not least the fact that 16 of the 24-player squad will be available next year,"
GALWAY:J Skehill; A Leach, P Loughnane, C O'Donovan; M Ryan, J Lee, G Mahon; K Kilkenny (0-1), A Harte; S Glynn (0-2), K Hynes (0-3), F Coone (1-0); N Kelly (0-1), J Canning (0-7, two sideline cuts), K Wade (1-6, four frees). Subs: D Kennedy for Loughnane; C Kavanagh (1-1) for Kelly; B Hanley (1-0) for Harte; E Collins for Glynn.
CORK:K O'Halloran; J O'Callaghan, E Dillon, C O'Driscoll; S O'Neill (0-1), E Cadogan, A Ryan; L Desmond (0-1), A Mannix; P Cronin (0-7, frees), K Canty (0-1), C Naughton (0-3); P Horgan (1-3), E Murphy (0-1), C O'Neill (1-0). Subs: S White (0-1) for Desmond; J Halbert for Mannix; F O'Leary for C O'Neill; S Moylan for O'Leary.
Referee:S McGrath (Westmeath).