This may be a game that will live long in the minds of Carlow supporters. For everyone else, most notably the Galway camp, this unremarkable opening round Leinster senior hurling championship fixture at Pearse Stadium on Sunday will not.
Yes, Galway got the job done against a Carlow outfit that continues to defy the odds with their gritty displays, but this performance from Micheal Donoghue’s men fell short of what the Tribesmen have produced in the championship in recent seasons.
It would not have been good enough to beat Wexford or Kilkenny and, possibly, Dublin; on the other hand, one suspects the Tribesmen may have come in a different state of mind had they been playing one of the traditional forces.
At any rate, the Galway management was disappointed with the performance levels and they had every right to be. Too often, the quality of Galway play was sloppy; distribution left a lot to be desired at times while the volume of basic handling errors was too high to be forgivable.
What accentuated these mistakes was that there were other occasions when Galway were bang on their game, no more so than when Conor Cooney goaled just 17 seconds into the second period. From the throw-in, Galway seized possession before Jason Flynn and captain David Burke set up Cooney for an outstanding goal. It was incisive, sharp, and clinical. It was Galway at their best.
That score made it 1-14 to 0-8 and the expectancy around the ground was that the home side would kick on from there. They did not. Instead, Carlow hit them for 1-2 without reply; the outstanding Martin Kavanagh (free) and midfielder Jack Kavanagh tallying the points, and corner forward Chris Nolan pouncing for the goal.
The Carlow goal arrived just two and a half minutes after Galway had bagged their goal. The industrious Davy Glennon gave away an innocuous free deep in the Carlow half and from the subsequent delivery of the placed ball, Kavanagh won possession and set up Nolan for a cool finish.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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