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Inside Track

Galway men are no busted flush heading to Thurles

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Chairman, of the Galway Race Commitee, Terry Cunningham, with trainer Gordon Elliott and John Moloney, General Manager, Galway Racetrack, at the launch of the Galway Summer Festival at Elliott’s yard in Longwood, Co Meath. Photo: Andrew Downes.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Galway hurling supporters would have travelled to Tullamore last Saturday evening with renewed faith in the team on the back of their explosive finish to the drawn Leinster semi-final, but instead of the expected improvement the Tribesmen went backwards. And there can be no complaints about bowing out of the provincial championship even if the eight-point margin of defeat was a harsh reflection on their overall contribution to an absorbing contest.

Once more Galway failed to push on after generating excitement about their championship potential just six days earlier but, unlike some occasions in the past, this was no flop or self implosion before a near capacity crowd in O’Connor Park. It was simply that a lot of their difficulties were the product of a more consistent and vigorous effort by Kilkenny’s reshuffled forces over the 70 minutes. Ultimately, the better equipped team carried the day and there is no escaping that reality.

Both managements carried out major surgery to their ranks for the replay, but it was the Kilkenny changes – both personnel and positional – which really had a defining influence on the outcome. Jackie Tyrell, restored to corner back, hurled up a storm, the recalled Brian Hogan put the shackles on Joe Canning on the forty, while Padraig Walsh proved a revelation in his surprising new role of centre forward in a sector where the outstanding TJ Reid ruthlessly punished persistent opposition fouling in the opening half.

In contrast, the Galway alterations failed to pay off. Both Joseph Cooney and Jonathan Glynn had probably played themselves onto the team on the basis of their positive impact in the drawn semi-final, but neither of them ever really got to the tempo of the match. Cooney was taken off – Glynn could have gone too – as was the third change in personnel, Paul Killeen, who struggled to tie down Reid and appeared overwhelmed by the physicality and intensity of the exchanges. In the Tynagh man’s defence, he had been thrown in at the deep end.

Of course, nobody in the crowd of over 17,000 knew what team Galway were sending into battle until two minutes before the throw in. This growing practice of trying to keep the opposition guessing until the eleventh hour is a nonsense and Galway supporters who dug deep into their pockets for the replay deserved more respect. Kilkenny made several changes from the programme too, but their reshuffling was made known – at least to the media – an hour before the start.

Though huge credit has to be afforded Kilkenny for absorbing and heeding the lessons of the previous weekend, Galway hardly helped their cause with some needless fouling, unforced errors, poor distribution and an over-reliance on the route one approach for scores. To compound matters, Cooney, Glynn, Canning and Niall Burke all failed to score from play, while the repeated first half tactic of long puck outs down the right flank only served to make a hero of Cillian Buckley.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

When it’s all said and done there was no show like the Joe show!

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Joe Canning with the Liam McCarthy Cup and his nephew Jack Canning holding the Irish Press Cup after Galway completed the senior and minor All-Ireland double at Croke Park in September of 2017. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

WITH Galway supporters still coming to terms with Joe Canning’s retirement from inter-county hurling last week, we wonder will it lead to an explosion of interest in Portumna’s county championship campaigns over the coming years?

That scenario would be partially the legacy of Covid-19, bearing in mind that for the past 18 months the Galway hurlers have been playing, for the most part, behind closed doors. Sure, there might have been a couple of thousand fans witnessing the team’s recent championship exit to Waterford in Thurles, but basically Canning and the Tribesmen have been operating in front of empty stands.

It meant supporters were denied the opportunity of watching a sporting legend in the flesh as his inter-county career reached a conclusion– a player who was already established as a hurling immortal through his extraordinary deeds since bursting on the scene at elite level in 2008.

Canning is arguably the highest profile player in the game over the past 20 years. Henry Shefflin won a lot more with Kilkenny, notably a staggering 10 All-Ireland senior medals, but there was probably greater fascination in his sharpshooting counterpart from Galway who will be 33 in October.

Long before he almost beat Cork single-handedly in an All-Ireland qualifier in Thurles in 2008, we knew something special had emerged from the townland of Gortanumera. He had already won two All-Ireland minor medals and that Autumn would collect his third senior championship with Portumna.

Read the full column in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Cool the jets – let’s give Galway sideline supremos a fair hearing

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Mayo's Aidan O'Shea feels the strain against Galway's Cathal Sweeney and Seán Mulkerrin during Sunday's Connacht Football Final at Croke Park. Photo: Ray McManus /Sportsfile.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

IN all my years (more like decades) involved in hurling, I have never seen a team play the game at a faster pace than what Waterford did for 55 minutes in Thurles last Saturday. They were like Olympic sprinters and Galway simply couldn’t keep up with them in the open expanses of Semple Stadium.

Galway hurlers have often plumbed the depths when least expected, but trailing by 16 points after three quarters of Saturday’s knock-out clash was a total shock to the system. We know the Tribesmen have a terrible record against Waterford, but this was embarrassing and unacceptable for a team which had been touted as Limerick’s chief threat.

Though Galway are understandably getting some credit for their grandstand finish, it’s only papering over the cracks and, let’s be honest, there would probably have been no comeback at all only for Waterford being reduced to 14 players for the entire second-half. And then having whittled the deficit down from 16 points to three and all the momentum behind them with over six minutes still left to be played, they were found wanting again.

After substitute Jason Flynn’s first goal, there were five more scores and Waterford got four of them. That alone tells you that Liam Cahill’s men had more of what it takes to succeed at this level. Waterford were in disarray but somehow were able to find the inspiration to get over the line.

Meeting Galway supporters before the game, we shared the same concerns about the men in maroon jerseys. Eyebrows were raised by the team chosen and some of the positions players were picked in. Having failed to raise much of a gallop against Dublin, Galway should have been straining at the leash to achieve some redemption. Instead, they were worse; swept aside by a ravenous Waterford team which had everything their opponents didn’t

Though leaving Daithí Burke at centre-back didn’t cost Galway the game, it was still stubborn of the team management to stick to their guns when his zealous patrolling of the square continued to be so blatantly missed. Keeping faith with the unrelated Cooneys’, Joseph and Conor, also attracted criticism.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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Connacht Tribune

Fearsome Limerick hit new high by tearing Tipperary rivals apart

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Galway’s Carrie Dolan breaking away from Laura Doherty of Westmeath during Saturday's All-Ireland camogie championship clash at Kenny Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

In the aftermath of a wonderful sporting achievement, it’s easy to get carried away and, perhaps, overrate what we have just seen at the expense of great deeds from the past. But even against that background, what Limerick hurlers achieved in the second-half of Sunday’s Munster Final was extraordinary.

They looked a beaten docket at half-time. Trailing by ten points to a Jason Forde inspired and a fiercely committed Tipperary, the All-Ireland champions were in serious trouble. They had conceded two goals directly from opposition puck-outs to Jake Morris and Bubbles O’Dwyer, and so many of their marquee players were off the pace.

In fact, Tipperary could have been ahead by more. With Dan McCormack playing deep to free up Brendan Maher as their sweeper, they created a world of chances with Forde – the most under-rated forward in the game – rifling over a series of points from all angles and distances. Limerick were all at sea and only Cian Lynch and Tom Morrissey were having a significant impact on the action.

But nobody could have envisaged the sensational turnaround in the third quarter. Within 18 minutes, a resurgent Limerick had gone a point ahead as reserves Aaron Gillane and Dan Morrissey added fresh vigour to their challenge at opposite ends of the field. It was like watching two different matches as Tipp were simply overwhelmed.

Their older generation really sagged in the unforgiving temperatures and by the time their management made changes, Limerick had already taking control. On the scoreboard, Tipp were still in it, but their players must have been in a state of shock over how a big lead had been so quickly and so ruthlessly wiped out. Limerick’s younger legs and sheer physical power were now dictating the terms of engagement.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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