Quickfire goals give Tipperary vital buffer against fast-finishing Galway
John O’Dwyer and Séamus Callanan hit the net as home side hang on at Semple Stadium
The Tipperary duo of Denis Maher and Kieran Bergin challenge Iarlaith Tannian of Galway during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A clash at Semple Stadium in Thurles. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Tipperary 2-18 Galway 0-20
Two Tipperary goals just after half-time helped them to stave off a strong closing quarter by Galway in this robust league encounter at Semple Stadium.
With a gale driving towards the town end of the ground, Tipperary hit 0-14 in the first half and looked to have settled the match when John O’Dwyer goaled seconds after the restart.
Tipp goaled again in the 46th minute when Séamus Callanan used both his size and guile to make the most of a low ball from O’Dwyer and finished deftly.
Trailing 2-16 to 0-13 after a battling first half, Galway could have written off the afternoon but instead harnessed the wind and outscored Tipp by 0-8 to 0-1, leaving just a goal between the teams.
On a day of outstanding defensive performances, David Collins and Iarla Tannian were key influences during that Galway revival, while Pádraic Maher became more composed even as the home support became increasingly anxious.
From the beginning, it was clear that whatever else, Eamon O’Shea expected an entirely new collective attitude as Tipperary attacked the Galway clearances during a sustained opening 10 minutes of pressure.
They opened up a 0-4 to 0-1 lead, the pick of the scores from Pádraic Maher, who showed for Kieran Bergin’s sideline cut, sidestepped Tannion and fired accurately. A late chop on Denis Maher drew a vexed reaction from O’Shea, a rarity in league fare and the foul was punished by Callanan’s free.
O’Shea gave the latest of the McGrath prodigies, John, his full debut and saw the Loughmore man deliver two late first-half points during one of the periodic scoring bursts which defined the first half.
Tipp maintained that swiftly acquired lead throughout the half and as so often happens in spring, both teams could summon only temporary periods of defensive intensity.
During the lulls, the sharpshooters on both sides concocted choice scores for the small crowd. Tipp’s 24th-minute score represented the best of them: Pádraic Maher wheeled back to tidy up a speculative Galway ball and lobbed a clearance to the willing Denis Maher. A crisp pass from Gearóid Ryan was slickly transferred at close range by Callanan and Jason Forde finished deftly. End-to-end, five clean passes, a score: in their groove, Tipp are pretty to watch.
Galway had enough chances to recover the deficit but rushed a few shots and a huge roar greeted Brendan Maher’s point, which pushed Tipp four points clear going into injury time.
Galway weren’t done: Andy Smyth shook off a thunderous and fair shoulder from Paul Curran to clip another fine point and then Joseph Cooney, whose move to full forward was key to their revival sent in a head-high, dangerous ball which Darren Gleeson had to collect on his goal line. Tipp has survived.
TIPPERARY: 1 D Gleeson (0-1, free); 2 C Barrett, 3 P Curran, 4 C O’Brien; 5 M Breen, 6 P Maher, 7 R Maher (0-1); 8 K Bergin (0-3), 9 G Ryan (0-1); 10 D Maher (0-1), 11 J Forde (0-3), 12 B Maher (0-1); 13 J O’Dwyer (1-1), 14 S Callanan (1-3, one free), 15 J McGrath (0-2).
Substitutes: J Woodlock for G Ryan (half-time). C Kenny (0-1) for D Maher (42 mins inj), N McGrath for J McGrath (54 mins), J Meager for K Bergin (70 mins).
GALWAY: 1 C Callanan; 2 J Coen, 3 J Hanbury, 4 P Mannion; 5 G McInerney, 6 D Collins, 7 I Tannian (0-1); 8 J Cooney (0-3), 9 A Smyth (0-2, one free); 10 P Brehony (0-2), 11 J Glynn (0-1), 12 D Higgins (0-1); 13 C Mannion (0-3), 14 J Flynn (0-4, three frees, 1 sideline cut), 15 J Regan (0-2).
Substitutes: K Hynes for P Brehony (43 mins), G Lally for D Higgins (48 mins), B Molloy (0-1) for J Regan (51 mins inj.), A Harte for J Flynn (69 mins).
Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).