Galway U-20 hurlers defy the odds in a frantic finale


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway U-20 hurlers defy the odds in a frantic finale Galway U-20 hurlers defy the odds in a frantic finale

Offaly 0-15

Galway 1-12

JUMPING to premature conclusions in modern-day hurling is becoming an increasingly dangerous practice when so much can change in a short period of time as the Galway U-20s underlined at O’Connor Park on Saturday.

Four points down; a player down; and the reigning provincial champions standing over a penalty with only five minutes of normal time remaining, the young men in maroon jerseys were surely a busted flush.

We presumed substitute Dan Ravenhill would find the target to give Offaly an even bigger cushion, but his effort screwed wide of Darragh Walsh’s left-hand post in a major let off for Galway who, to their credit, subsequently produced a storming finish to earn an unlikely share of the spoils.

In fact, Rory Burke and Aaron Niland had chances from the left wing to snatch victory only for their efforts to drift well wide in the swirling wind, but Galway must be relieved and delighted to have salvaged a result given they were in such dire straits.

It was only when defeat was staring them in the face that Galway found the necessary cohesion and rhythm to pull the game out of the fire with five unanswered points against an Offaly team which must have thought they were home and hosed.

The 2023 All-Ireland finalists had been that bit sharper over the hour, showing the benefits of already having a competitive match under their belts – a narrow win over Dublin – and with full-back James Mahon in top form, and Barry Egan and Adam Screeney a handful up front, Offaly looked to have the hard work done in bidding to repeat last year’s win over Galway.

Conditions were challenging for both teams, and though Galway had done well to eke out a 1-5 to 0-7 interval advantage having faced the wind, they were a clear second best for long periods on the resumption.

Pictured: Loughrea’s Darren Shaughnessy who scored 1-1 in Saturday’s Leinster U-20 hurling championship clash with Offaly in Tullamore.

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