Patrick Earley runs the rule over the performances of the Galway players in Sunday’s momentous All-Ireland hurling final triumph over Waterford at Croke Park.
Colm Callanan – 6
So assured all year but not at his best on Sunday. Was caught out of position for Kevin Moran’s opening goal when beaten at his near post. Too far off his line for the second goal but should still have been able to deal with Kieran Bennett’s dropping ball, only for some indecision to allow the sliotar find its way in to the net.
Adrian Tuohey – 7
Attacked the ball like every good defender should right from the off. Almost scored a brilliant individual point but dragged his effort wide. Limited Shane Bennett and then Jake Dillon to little opportunity and did well to cut out Stephen O’Keefe’s last gasp free for the lineball which signaled full-time. Would have been fuming at himself with the concession of a free for catching the ball three times.
Daithí Burke – 8
Dragged out the field in the first half but still looked at home, keeping Jake Dillon on a tight leash throughout. Faced a different challenge upon Maurice Shanahan’s introduction, returning to his more natural position in front of the goals and although Shanahan had a couple of assists, Burke held the Lismore man scoreless.
John Hanbury – 7
Tasked with curbing the influence of ‘Brick’ Walsh, Hanbury certainly had his hands full but was solid throughout. ‘Brick’ landed a first half score and laid off the hand pass for Kevin Moran’s goal but found the going tough against the tigerish Rahoon/Newcastle man who stuck to him like glue though he still has a bit of work to do to master the flick off the ground demonstrated by Austin Gleeson in the Munster semi final against Cork.
Padraic Mannion – 7
Hurled a lot of ball and his delivery was excellent for the most part. Couldn’t manage any of his inspirational fetches from the air and somehow refrained from his legendary fist pump when fouled in the second half. Combined brilliantly with his brother Cathal to set up a fantastic first half point but afforded Pauric Mahony too much space at times, allowing the Ballygunner man tally 0-3 from play.
Gearóid McInerney – 8
Another all-conquering display by Galway’s man-mountain centre back. Austin Gleeson had the potential to win that game for Waterford on Sunday if he got in to his groove but McInerney was given the role of sticking with Gleeson wherever he went, forcing the enigmatic Mount Sion man back in to his own half on multiple occasions where he couldn’t hurt the Tribesmen.
Aidan Harte – 7
Played as Galway’s sweeper for the majority of the game but wasn’t as influential as he has been in the role previously. Caught out of position for the first goal and often competed in the air along with one of his defensive colleagues instead of sitting back waiting for the break. His deliveries were not as precise as his adversary Tadhg de Burca’s but has proven himself a reliable left half back all year.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.