Tipperary 2-19 Galway 0-20
Galway relinquished their 100 per cent record in the Allianz National Hurling when they went down by five points against a Tipperary side who deserved to win this keenly-contested but lacklustre game at Semple Stadium this afternoon (Saturday ).
With a huge degree of experimentation in the away team, manager Shane O’Neill’s selection was based on player time management, designed to give as many players as possible game minutes in anticipation of an extended run in this year’s Championship.
Once again, Galway were goal shy, not rattling the net, and not even threatening to, against a Tipperary side whose trademark is goal-getting, a tradition they continued here in the opening minutes when Jason Forde twisted through and fired home.
At that time, Tipp looked like they would score with every opportunity that came their way, and although Galway gamely fought their way back into the game, a second goal scored by Noel McGrath on the half hour gave Tipp a 2-7 to 0-6 lead.
However, rather than pushing on to win the game from that point, Tipp allowed Galway to gain the upper hand, and they rattled off five unanswered points before the break.
Two more immediately afterwards, saw Galway temporarily lead, but then a slew of wasted chances by Galway denied them the chance for a win, even though the late sending off of Ja Mannion set them back as they chased the game in those final minutes.
Try as they might to grab a result, Galway were outscored by five points to two when down to fourteen men, and that was enough to give Liam Sheehy’s side their first win after two draws in the eague.
Afterwards, manager Shane O’Neill was philosophical about the defeat.
“It was a decent game and we knew that Tipp would be up for it, and that we could not give them any space or room at all, but in the first half they managed to get two goals, before we settled down in the middle quarters and played some good hurling.
“Tipp had a lot of wides in the first half into the same goal where we had so many wides in the second half, so overall I am happy enough with the three matches, the two wins and one defeat and the break now coming up. But obviously at this stage of the year we have loads to work on.”
He paid tribute to the younger players who grabbed their opportunity today — playing Tipp away is never the easiest place to make a mark, but TJ Barrett and Darren Morrissey did not look out of place in this company.
“I thought DJ and Darren were superb today. They just stacked everything in their area and dealt with everything and looked comfortable out there.”
He acknowledged that some momentum was lost with the many substitutions in the second half, but said it was necessary as part of the squad management.
“We had to do those because of the five matches in six weeks. We had game minutes in our heads for various players because you just don’t want to risk overloading injuries. But still we would expect to be able to drive on and we just couldn’t do it, and then with the sending off as well, that they had a better impact off the bench at stage. But overall, we are pleased enough with the three weeks.
He said that Joe Canning played well in midfield but will be even more sharp by the time the Championship comes around.
He said that it always is a concern when the team does not score a goal, and that goal-creating is something they are going to take a look at.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-8 (6 frees, 1 65 ); Evan Niland (2 frees ), Brian Concannon 0-3 each; Conor Cooney 0-2; Johnny Coen, Jason Flynn (free ), Kevin Cooney, Conor Whelan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 1-5 (0-4 frees ); Noel McGrath 1-2; John O’Dwyer 0-3; Ronan Maher, Michael Breen 0-2 each; Barry Heffernan, Robert Byrne, Paul Flynn, Brendan Maher, Niall O’Meara 0-1 each.
GALWAY: Eanna Murphy; Darren Morrissey, Daithi Burke, Aidan Harte; TJ Brennan, Padraic Mannion, Adrian Tuohey; Joe Canning, Johnny Coen; Joseph Cooney, Jason Flynn, Conor Cooney; Brian Concannon, Kevin Cooney, Conor Whelan.
Subs: Gearoid McInerney for Burke (49 ); Niall Burke for Flynn (49 ); Cathal Mannion for Canning (54 ); Evan Niland for J Cooney (54 ); Jack Fitzpatrick for Harte (54 ); Jarlath Mannion for K Cooney (57 ); Jack Hastings for C Cooney (70 ).
TIPPERARY: Barry Hogan; Cathal Barrett, Padraic Maher, Barry Heffernan; Robert Byrne, Seamus Kennedy, Ronan Maher; Alan Flynn, Paddy Cadell; Dan McCormack, Noel McGrath, Dillon Quirke; John O’Dwyer, Jason Forde, John McGrath.
Subs: Niall O’Meara for Quirke (HT ); Paul Flynn for J McGrath (HT ); Brendan Maher for Cadell (47 ); Willie Connors for A Flynn (47 ); Jake Morris for McCormack (54 ); Michael Breen for N McGrath (60 ); Brian McGrath for Kennedy (65 ).
*Ref: *J Keenan (Wicklow )