Nobody heading into Pearse Stadium on Sunday afternoon could have foreseen the absolute tanking Galway received at the hands of the reigning All Ireland champions Tipperary.
Many of the national papers had fancied Galway to be the victors - that was the mood around the place.
Although Galway had not been going that well, they had been chiselling out results and were expected to be, at the very least, competitive against their old nemesis.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. Tipp ran riot and left the Galway players, management team, and supporters shell-shocked with this 4-25 to 1-4 result. From a Galway perspective it was tough to watch near the end, and with Ger Farragher, Tony Óg Regan, Damien Joyce and Ger O’Halloran all subbed out by the close of business, you could see the numerous gaps management were trying to plug.
Tipperary were in a different class and their full-forward line’s 5-09 from play tells everything about the game’s flow.
Shane Bourke hit 3-04 from play and Lar Corbett, who was tremendous all day and was their conductor in chief up front, notched 1-04.
It was a tough day at the office for all concerned with Galway senior hurling.
Team manager John McIntyre called it as he saw it.
"It was a sobering day for Galway hurling, but there is no blame game - there is collective responsibility. We were handed a hurling lesson. To be beaten by 18 points was not what we anticipated when we gathered in the hotel [on Sunday morning], but Tipperary showed why they are All Ireland champions. They were much slicker, and you could see the confidence oozing through their play. The damage was done in the first-half; we were playing with a very strong wind, but went in two points down. We were in trouble."
Tipperary led by 1-10 to 1-8 at half-time. However they had the elements at their backs for the second 35 minutes and with Bourke finely tuned for goals Galway were tortured for the duration of that half.
The harsh reality is that Tipp were really good last Sunday. They looked to be in championship mode and they made Galway look inferior. Their coach Tommy Dunne has them in great shape and everything was done at great pace. They rarely wasted a ball and they had a real pattern to their play. Their aerial strength was hugely impressive and they showed a fantastic first touch that was a joy to watch.
Despite this heavy defeat, and it may be a blessing in disguise in some regards, Galway can still reach the 2011 league final if they bounce back and get a win against Waterford (away ) on Sunday week.
If they win in round 7, they would probably face Kilkenny in the league final - Kilkenny face Offaly in their last game – and at least they would have another game to wash the memory of last Sunday’s capitulation out of their memory.
Best for Galway on a day Galway hurling fans will be keen to forget were Eoin Forde, David Burke, Andy Smith, and Johnny Coen on his introduction.