GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final – Galway 0-22 Cork 0-17

Galway clear penultimate hurdle

Report from the GAA.ie web site

GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final: Cork 0-17 Galway 0-22

Galway are back in All-Ireland final for the first time since 2005 following a five-point defeat of Cork in a gripping game at Croke Park on Sunday. The Leinster champions answered all the questions that had been asked of them in the build-up to the game and delivered yet another power-packed display full of the intensity and passion that was crucial to their win over Kilkenny. Anthony Cunningham’s side didn’t deliver the kind of scorched earth performance that blew the Cats away in the first half, but they still defended masterfully and were always able to keep Cork at arm’s length in a really entertaining game.

The sides were level at 0-11 apiece after a tense first half, but Galway, led superbly by the inspirational Joe Canning, made a burst for the line in the third quarter and were four points clear, 0-17 to 0-13, by the 53rd minute. As is their wont, Cork’s management emptied their bench and the injection of energy from fresh legs and fresh minds brought Cork back into the game, with sub Cathal Naughton arrowing over a superb score in the 58th minute to leave just two points between the sides.

It looked like Cork were going to repeat what they did in the quarter-final win over Waterford, but Galway came back strongly and hit the final three points of the game to seal a place in the final. Cork were guilty of hitting some bad wides in the closing stages, goalkeeper Anthony Nash sending a free wide and Niall McCarthy hitting another opportunity badly wide. Galway punished Cork’s profligacy when Canning landed a crucial score in the 69th minute, the Portumna man sending over his 11th point of the game after he was fouled by Paudie O’Sullivan. Damien Hayes then popped over another point from play in added time to seal an impressive win.

But Galway thoroughly deserved the win. They defended brilliantly in the final quarter, with Fergal Moore, Niall Donoghue and Johnny Coen all outstanding as Cork moved Pa Cronin into attack and launched a series of testing long balls on top of them. Cork’s goal opportunities were rare, with Cronin missing one of their few chances in the 56th minute, the Bishopstown man flashing a shot over the bar when he had the goal at his mercy. Galway, too, had their chances, but Nash denied them minutes earlier when he made a superb save to deny Niall Burke, tipping the ball out for a 65, which Canning converted.

Canning had another massive afternoon in maroon, although he was well marshalled by Brian Murphy, the 23-year-old playing a lone role in attack, where he scored four points from play and chipped in with another seven from placed balls. Hayes, who was crucial to the win over Kilkenny, had another profitable afternoon, picking off four points from play as he continued in a free role. Cork did have some success up front in the first half, with Paudie O’Sullivan notching three scores from play and Pa Horgan striking a succession of frees, including the leveler in first half added time.

Horgan had Cork ahead inside a minute of the restart, but in the subsequent 10-minute period Galway hit four points without reply, a crucial purple patch which won them the game. Hayes and Canning hit scores from play before Niall Burke finished a fine move in which Canning played a crucial role, winning vital possession in despite the attentions of several Cork defenders and laying off for his better-placed team-mate. So, a second big performance from Galway and they will now go into an All-Ireland final full of confidence that they can end a wait for an All-Ireland title that now dates back to 1988. For Cork, their season ends in disappointment but it was an impressive performance from Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s young side, who will benefit massively from a run that yielded far more than initial expectations.

Galway Scorers: D Hayes 0-4, D Burke 0-2, J Regan 0-2, J Canning 0-11 (0-5f, 0-2 65), A Smith 0-1, N Burke 0-2.

Cork Scorers: P Horgan 0-7 (0-6f), J Coughlan 0-1, C McCarthy 0-1, L O’Farrell 0-1, P O’Sullivan 0-3, C Naughton 0-1, D Sweetnam 0-1, P Cronin 0-1, A Nash 0-1 (0-1f).

Galway: J Skehill, D Collins, K Hynes, F Moore, N Donoghue, T Óg Regan, J Coen, I Tannian, A Smith, D Burke, N Burke, J Regan, C Cooney, J Canning, D Hayes. Subs: D Glennon for Cooney (54), C Donnellan for Regan (62), J Glynn for N Burke (67), J Cooney for D Burke (72).

Cork: A Nash; S O’Neill, S McDonnell, B Murphy; T Kenny, E Cadogan, S Óg Ó hAilpín; P Cronin, L McLoughlin; C Lehane, C McCarthy, J Coughlan; P O’Sullivan, L O’Farrell, P Horgan. Subs: C Naughton for C McCarthy (HT), D Sweetnam for Lehane (46), S Moylan for O’Farrell (51), N McCarthy for Coughlan (55), D Kearney for McLoughlin (68).

Referee: Brian Gavin (Offaly)

Attendance: 41,537