Tardy starts to both halves handicaps Galway hurlers

Tipperary 1-26

Galway 0-24

IT was a match in which Galway never led; a match that they could have won; a match that they were lucky not to take a trouncing in. Enough good and bad material to keep the Tribesmen’s psychologist working overtime.

This was the classic up and down display from Galway. At stages, they were being overrun by a physically stronger and sharper Tipperary and, yet, with 66 minutes gone on the clock a stirring fightback had left the men in maroon on the brink of a mighty victory.

Having looked a busted flush when Tipperary stormed into a 0-21 to 0-13 eight minutes into the second-half, it was difficult to see a way back for Galway. The centre of their defence had been repeatedly ransacked with both TJ Brennan and Shane Cooney replaced long before the game’s final throes.

This was Galway’s first serious test of the hurling league at Semple Stadium last Sunday and for long tracts of the fixture, they were in real trouble. A big injury casualty list was some form of mitigation, but Tipperary were largely operating on a different level.

When their ace sharpshooter Gearóid O’Connor picked off two scores in quick succession to leave Tipperary eight points ahead in the third quarter, the home fans must have thought that the game was over and, in the process, gaining some measure of compensation for last year’s tame championship exit to the same opponents.

But in an extraordinary turnaround, Galway rattled over the next seven points. Second-half substitute Seán Linnane gave them some badly needed aggression, while Evan Niland picked off a series of frees – though another placed ball came back off the post – and also notched a fine effort from play.

Pictured: Galway defender Jack Grealish gets to grips with Tipperary’s Seán Ryan during Sunday’s National Hurling League tie at Semple Stadium.

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