Galway edge Tipperary at the death to reach All-Ireland final
Kilkenny lie in wait for Anthony Cunningham’s side after Shane Moloney seals tie
Shane Moloney’s point at the death booked Galway a place in the All-Ireland hurling final. Photograph: Inpho
In the nick of time the GAA Hurling All-Ireland season ignited with just two matches to go. Galway, for so long specialists in sidling into August as unknown quantities and landing a haymaker on provincial champions, relived the past with a display that was dynamic and dauntless in the face of a Tipperary challenge that although sustained by goals, never quite got traction.
In a match that saw the teams level on 10 occasions and a second half that saw the lead change hands six times, it was left to a senior debutant Shane Moloney – a member of the county’s recent All-Ireland winning intermediates – to strike the winning score in the dying seconds of the third minute of injury-time, having come on in the 69th.
Galway deserved it. They again had to cope with Joe Canning’s radar again being awry – although he scored 10 points from all manner of placed balls he added five wides to the eight struck in the quarter-final – but once more the younger generation of forwards stepped up.
David Burke hurled a storm at centrefield, keeping Galway going in the period when they looked most vulnerable in the first quarter.
Séamus Callanan will surely go into the pub quiz lore as the full forward who scored 3-4 from play in a semi-final and lost, but his sharply taken scores and incandescent menace simply kept Tipp afloat rather than launched them into back-to-back finals.
The defeat brought down the curtain on Eamon O’Shea’s management after three years and it was a desperately disappointing finale.
Galway were relentless. Manager Anthony Cunningham may have to be less cavalier in his attitude to a leaking defence and the small demesne of acreage the team allowed Tipp to clear in front of Callanan in the final against Kilkenny – a denouement to the season he had prophesied just after the Leinster final defeat by the All-Ireland champions - but yesterday was a triumphant return to hurling’s top table.
They never betrayed any sign of demoralisation as their opponents raided for goals and responded on each occasion with purpose and spirit.
It was a trial by fire for Pádraig Mannion, the young corner back, who had been having a great season until designated as the marker for Callanan. It took only 35 seconds for the doubts to start fluttering.
Shane McGrath banged in a high delivery. Mannion went up and pulled so vigorously his stick was broken but Callanan still plucked the ball and ghosted in for a goal in a routine that would repeated three times – for two further goals and a penalty that was helped over for a point by Colm Callanan in the Galway goal.
It was a good match for goalkeepers. Callanan saved a three-shot barrage from Patrick Maher and replacement Shane Bourke in the 44th minute, blocked a Lar Corbett shot for a 65 and stopped an attempt by John O’Dwyer to bat the ball off the ground and into the net just seconds after Canning had attempted the same thing at the other end.
Darren Gleeson stopped that and also saved a shot by Cathal Mannion at the cost of a 65 in the first half and saved an admittedly tame penalty from Canning after Cyril Donnellan had been taken down by Pádraic Maher in the eighth minute.
Tipperary appeared to coast a bit after their strong start, which maintained the early four-point margin up until 23 minutes, but Galway didn’t panic and chipped away at the scoreboard.
At the back they got to grips with the threat posed, although Callanan’s menace meant that not since the Cuban missiles crisis have so many anxious eyes been trained on the skies. John O’Dwyer, the other part of the Tipperary double act was will marked by Johnny Coen and Aidan Harte, and scored just once from play.
Tipp would need more, but even a revival by Patrick Maher in the second half couldn’t quite free him from the shackles of Daithi Burke’s determined marking.
The margin reduced and by half-time Galway’s teenage prodigy Conor Whelan pushed his team ahead, 0-13 to 1-9.
Tipperary will be devastated by the second half because although Galway were by now clearly on top, the goals kept coming for the Munster champions.
Niall O’Meara banged one up to Callanan and he controlled the ball on the second catch before burying it for a 2-9 to 0-14 lead.
Flynn and Mannion reclaimed the advantage; Callanan equalised before Maher and Bourke were kept out and David Burke, by now well in command at centrefield with Andy Smith, restored the lead.
The third goal put daylight between the teams, Tipp 3-12 to 0-18 ahead, but Galway knocked that off without reply in four minutes.
It was like the closing stages of a boxing bout with both fighters going all out. But Tipperary never looked at ease when they led, as if half fearful that Galway were still on their shoulder.
Callanan’s penalty after being hauled down by John Hanbury was hit high and went over off his namesake in the Galway goal. A green flag then may well have settled the matter.
There was some good cheer for Tipperary when Noel McGrath, back on the team for the first time in the four months afters serious illness, pushed them ahead in the 70th minute.
Three minutes of injury-time remained though and Galway weren’t going to stop. Nor did they.
Tipperary: Darren Gleeson; Cathal Barrett, James Barry, Conor O’Brien; Ronan Maher, Padraic Maher, Kieran Bergin, James Woodlock, Shane McGrath; Jason Forde (0-1), Brendan Maher (0-1), Patrick Maher (0-1); John O’Dwyer (0-2, 0-1 free), Seamus Callanan (3-9, 0-3 frees, 0-1 65, 0-1 pen), Niall O’Meara. Subs: Paddy Stapleton for Barrett (blood), 3-8 mins; Shane Bourke for Forde, half-time; Lar Corbett for McGrath, 56 mins; Noel McGrath (0-1) for Bourke, 62 mins; Conor O’Mahony (0-1) for Woodlock, 64 mins; Michael Breen for Ronan Maher, 72 mins
Galway: Colm Callanan; Johnny Coen, John Hanbury, Padraig Mannion; Aidan Harte, Iarla Tannian, Daithi Burke; Andrew Smith (0-1), David Burke (0-2); Conor Whelan (0-2), Cyril Donnellan, Jonathan Glynn; Jason Flynn (0-5, 0-1 free), Joe Canning (0-10, 0-6 frees, 0-1 65, 0-1 sideline), Cathal Mannion (0-5). Subs: David Collins for Harte (blood), 1-5 mins; Collins for Harte (blood), 32-35 mins; Joseph Cooney for Donnellan, 53 mins; Collins for Smith, 64 mins; Greg Lally for Harte, 65 mins; Shane Moloney (0-1) for Cooney, 69 mins; Pádraig Brehony for Hanbury, 71 mins