Galway survive Cork challenge

The Galway senior hurlers will face Limerick in an All-Ireland semi-final for the second time in three years after escaping from Semple Stadium with a one point win over a wasteful Cork side last Saturday afternoon.

Considering Galway led from pillar to post against the pre-match favourites, it seems a tad harsh to say that the Tribesmen were fortunate to progress, but they did profit from a large slice of luck in the opening minute when man of the match Jack Grealish’s effort slipped through the hands of Cork ‘keeper Patrick Collins to the back of the net.

Allied to the Rebels’ staggeringly poor conversion rate - just seven scores from 24 attempts - during an opening period in which Galway netminder Éanna Murphy also made three top class saves, it becomes more obvious that Galway fans were struggling to comprehend how their team was five in front at half time.

“To be fair, the first half was two teams lacking a little bit of confidence,” Galway manager Henry Shefflin admitted afterwards. “I think it was a cagey affair. I think in the second half it definitely opened up a bit.

“I’m just thrilled with the character the lads showed because it could have easily went against us there. In some big moments, big players stood up. For that, you have to be very proud of the way they performed.”

Conor Whelan again came up trumps, this time working off scraps of possession. Two majestic points from acute angles were topped by a first half goal when his marker Seán O’Donoghue lost track of the flight of a long delivery and the Kinvara clubman pounced in a blur of strength and speed.

Cathal Mannion, David Burke, Joseph Cooney, and Daithí Burke also contributed handsomely when the game was in the melting pot in the second half, with Galway firing over long-range missiles to keep their noses in front. Shefflin knows well that more will be needed on July 3.

“Look, we’re thrilled, we’re very mindful of what’s coming next, but you have to enjoy these moments. This is what we all do it for, a tight, tense battle like that and coming out the right side of it, it is a good feeling.”


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