Hurlers must return to winning ways against Offaly

Disappointment is etched all over Joe Canning’s face after Portumna failed in their bid to become the first club in either football or hurling to win three successive All Ireland club titles in a row.  See match report inside.

Disappointment is etched all over Joe Canning’s face after Portumna failed in their bid to become the first club in either football or hurling to win three successive All Ireland club titles in a row. See match report inside.

This Saturday the Galway hurlers taken on Offaly at 2.30pm in Pearse Stadium. With a game against Kilkenny away on Sunday week, this is a must-win game for Galway if they are to reach the league final.

After their massive implosion in the second half against Tipperary last weekend, nothing can be taken for granted.

The team led by 0-13 to 1-06 at half time and yet they lost by 2-17 to 0-14. That is an appalling turn-around and the worst part of the crushing defeat was that in the entire second-half, Galway only scored one solitary point as they were totally outclassed by Tipperary. At least Aongus Callanan saved Galway the embarrassment of not scoring a single point in 35 minutes.

For Tipperary native John McIntyre, it was a punishing defeat as he had hoped to get one over on his home county. He has spoken in the past about the side’s tendency to lose focus and he was provided with another example of that habit against Liam Sheedy’s men. Such a collapse is unacceptable for any team with aspirations for the big time. Admittedly, the side was missing the Portumna contingent, but that does not excuse the way the men who were on the field went AWOL in the second half.

Ironically Saturday’s opponents Offaly on the same day produced a great second-half fight-back to come from behind to beat Dublin by seven points at O’Connor Park in Tullamore. They will come to Pearse stadium full of confidence and looking to have a right cut at Galway and their former manager John McIntyre. Galway's chances are not helped with corner forward Iarla Tannian ruled out with a suspected broken bone in his hand.

The Galway supporters who had travelled to Semple Stadium last weekend were looking for confirmation their team was on the right track for the coming championship. They would have left befuddled and confused. How could Galway have been so vibrant and inventive in the first half and so flat and lacklustre in the second?

John McIntyre did not make himself available for comment after the game, but he must have been exasperated. In his absence it was left to Joe Connolly to face the press and he was frank and honest in his assessment.

“We were not good enough on the day. And we learnt a lot. A real lesson. We are aiming for May 29 against Wexford in Nowlan Park and that’s what we’re about. We have to stop the supply at source.

"To be fair, our backs played well, but with the amount of ball coming in, no back line could hold out.”

Galway have chance to redeem themselves again this weekend. It will be important they put down a marker for their positions before the Portumna crew return. As Connolly pointed out>

“We learnt a salutary lesson against Tipperary last Sunday. But it’s how we react to the defeat that matters.”

Galway (v Tipperary ): J Skehill; F Moore, S Kavanagh, D Joyce; D Collins, T Regan, C Dervan; G Farragher (0-5 ), N Cahalan (0-1 ); A Callanan (0-2 ), C Donnellan (0-2 ), A Harte (0-1 ); I Tannion (0-2 ), J Gantley (0-1 ), D Burke. Subs: D Barry for Harte (55 ), J Lee for Dervan (58 ).

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