Galway's ambitions burning bright

 

All-Ireland MHC Semi-final: Galway 4-13, Cork 1-9 Munster champions Cork, who had looked so impressive when they disposed of Limerick in their provincial final, suffered their heaviest defeat by Galway in the 20th championship meeting between the sides in Portlaoise.

When the sides met in 2001, Cork denied Galway a famous three titles in a row and on Saturday evening Galway were aiming not alone to retain their All-Ireland title but also to qualify for their third successive final.

Within 10 minutes of the throw-in, Galway had posted their intentions when they led by 2-5 to no score. Their opening goal came within 30 seconds of the throw-in when a Brian Murphy effort from 25 metres deceived the Cork goalkeeper and within five minutes another defensive error had allowed Conor Kavanagh add a second goal. In between, Kavanagh and defender John Hughes had added two points.

Galway went on to add three more without reply from Seán Glynn, Kavanagh and midfielder Frank Kerrigan.

When Cork eventually got on the scoresheet it was a brilliant goal by Cathal Naughton, who had been moved from full forward to curb the Galway midfield dominance.

Peter O'Brien added a Cork point almost immediately. Then some wayward shooting by Galway saw them hit seven wides in succession.

Cork then had two great points in as many minutes from Pat Cronin and another from Stephen Moylan reduced the margin to just four points. Just before the half-time whistle Joe Canning had a Galway point to give them a half-time lead of 2-6 to 1-4.

Within a minute of the resumption Paudie O'Sullivan scored a Cork point and it looked as if a revival was on the cards. Galway responded, however, with four unanswered points from their full forward, Joe Canning.

Midway through the second half Canning effectively ended the game as a contest when he took a pass from Murphy before scoring Galway's third goal.

Cork were awarded a penalty but Pat Horgan's shot flew over the crossbar and five minutes from time Kavanagh beat two Cork defenders before shooting his side's fourth goal.

On this performance Galway, who beat Kilkenny in last year's final after a replay, will be warmly fancied to account for either Dublin or Limerick, who meet at Nowlan Park next Saturday in the other semi-final.

GALWAY: J Skehill; A Leech, P Loughnane, P Callanan; J Hughes (0-1), C O'Donovan, K Kilkenny; A Keary, F Kerrigan (0-1); K Coen, S Glynn (0-2), S Howley; C Kavanagh (2-2), J Canning (1-6), B Murphy (1-0). Subs: J Greene (0-1) for Coen. A Harte for Kerrigan, A Callanan for Howley, K Keehan for O'Donovan.

CORK: R O'Keeffe; E O'Sullivan, E Dillon, G O'Driscoll; S White, P O'Sullivan (0-1), T Murray; P O'Brien (0-2), P O'Driscoll; P Cronin (0-2), E Murphy, J Halbert; P Horgan (0-1), C Naughton (1-2), S Moylan (0-1). Subs: C O'Driscoll for J O'Driscoll, P Finnegan for P O'Driscoll, C O'Neill for Murphy, D Lynch for Moylan, R Cashman for D Lynch.

Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).