All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final – Galway 0-26 Waterford 2-17

Galway defeated Waterford by 0-26 to 2-17 in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final on Sunday September 3rd at Croke Park.

Match Highlights

Galway end 29-year wait for the Liam MacCarthy Cup

All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final


Report By John Harrington at Croke Park for

Tony Keady must have been smiling down from heaven as Galway ended their 29-year wait for the Liam MacCarthy Cup with a deserved victory over Waterford.

Keady’s death four weeks ago was a real body-blow for Galway hurling, and for every Tribesman and woman this win must have felt like the perfect way to honour his memory.

Keady was Man of the Match from centre-back when Galway last won the All-Ireland in 1988, and their centre-back today, Gearoid McInerney, will go close to earning the same distinction.

Gearoid’s father Gerry McInerney hurled alongside Keady in the Galway half-back line in ’88, so there’s a real sense of a circle being closed with this win.

That Galway team of the ‘80s were famed for their mental strength as well as skill and athleticism, and today this Galway side showed all of the same qualities.

Some of their attacking play was a joy to behold, they hit ferociously hard in the tackle, and they never lost faith in themselves despite the concession of two goals against the run of play in the first-half and a strong showing from Waterford in the third quarter.

They had key leaders in every line of the field. Daithi Burke took no prisoners in the full-back line, McInerney ate Austin Gleeson without salt, captain David Burke hit four points in a hugely influential display, while Joe Canning and Conor Cooney were the pick of a very sharp forward-unit.

Waterford deserve credit for ultimately making this match the contest it was, because a cold dread must have trickled down their spines when Galway fired over four points in the first four minutes.

It was starting to look like 2008 all over again with Waterford players looking bewildered by the power and pace of Galway’s attacking thrusts much like they did in the face of Kilkenny’s tsunami nine years ago.

Canning hit two of those first four Galway points and seemed to be on a one-man mission to fulfil his destiny and finally get his hand on that elusive All-Ireland medal.

Waterford couldn’t get their short-passing game into gear because as soon as one of their players got his hand on the ball he was coming under immediate pressure and had little time to strike never mind getting his head up before doing so.

They were gasping for air, but suddenly some life was breathed into their challenge when Kevin Moran scored a break-away goal against the run of play.

Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh was the creator, getting his hand on the sliotar and immediately off-loading to Moran who had run from deep like he so often does to great effect. He still had a lot to do as he raced towards goal, but struck his shot sweet and true to beat the slightly out of position Galway goalkeeper Colm Callanan on his near post.

It was just what Waterford needed, but it didn’t seem to knock a beat out of Galway as they continued rolling forward in wave after maroon wave and hit the next two points of the game through Conor Cooney and David Burke.

But a three-point lead still didn’t seem reflective of their dominance, and now that Waterford had their bearings they started to inch their way more and more into the contest.

Tadhg de Búrca was now making his presence felt, firing a steady stream of deliveries into his forward line where ‘Brick’ Walsh was doing Trojan work to win it despite being so often outnumbered.

Successive points from Pauric Mahony and Kevin Moran gave further credence to the Waterford revival, but Galway’s forwards were still looking razor sharp and they hit the next three points of the game from Cathal Mannion, Joe Canning and Conor Cooney.

But, having hit nine points in the opening 14 minutes, Galway would score just five more over the course of the remaining 24 minutes of the half.

Points from Pauric Mahony and ‘Brick’ Walsh gave further impetus to Waterford and then, incredibly, they were level on 22 minutes when they scored a very fortuitous goal.

A long ball from Kieran Bennett landed on the edge of the Galway square and bounced to the net past Colm Callanan who seemed to momentarily lose his bearings while Shane Bennett and Adrian Tuohy contested the sliotar.

A penny for the thoughts of the Galway players at that moment. They’d done most of the hurling but now had no advantage on the scoreboard to show for it.

That would have a real blow for a mentally fragile team which Galway have been accused of being in the past, but this side is clearly made of sterner stuff.

By half-time they’d edged into the lead again – 0-14 to 2-7 – but their resolve would be tested again in the third quarter when Waterford enjoyed their best spell of the match.

That was largely thanks to the efforts of Pauric Mahony who scored five points in a row, two of them from play, to push his team a point ahead.

But the fourth quarter is always the most important, and Galway really came good in it thanks in no small part to the impact of their bench. Substitute Niall Burke showed his class with two points in a minute, while Jason Flynn would also hit a brace of points after his introduction.

Waterford had a couple of lively subs of their own in the shape of Brian O’Halloran and Tommy Ryan who hit a point each to reduce the gap to the minimum by the 59th minute, but that was as close as Derek McGrath’s team would get. In a crucial three-minute spell between the 60th and 63rd minutes Galway hit three points from Joe Canning, Conor Cooney and Jason Flynn to move four points ahead, and it proved to be a winning buffer.

There was one late scare in injury-time when Tommy Ryan wriggled into enough space to unloose a shot at the Galway goal, but David Burke blocked it and the ball was eventually cleared.

When Waterford’s last attack went out for a Galway side-line in the dying seconds of the fourth and final minute of injury-time, the result was sealed.

Galway supporters had the luxury of basking in the final few seconds of the match as Joe Canning took his time over the side-line, safe in the knowledge that their long famine for the Liam MacCarthy had ended. And when the Fergal Horgan finally sounded the final whistle, Croke Park lifted as 29 years of frustration were blown to smithereens by an explosion of pure joy.

Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-9 (6f, 1 sideline), David Burke 0-4, Conor Cooney 0-3, Cathal Mannion 0-2, Joseph Cooney 0-2, Niall Burke 0-2, Jason Flynn 0-2, Conor Whelan 0-1, Johnny Coen 0-1.

Scorers for Waterford: Pauric Mahony 0-11 (8f), Kevin Moran 1-1, Kieran Bennett 1-0, Jamie Barron 0-2, Michael Walsh 0-1, Brian O’Halloran 0-1, Tommy Ryan 0-1.

GALWAY: Colm Callanan; Adrian Tuohey, Daithi Burke, John Hanbury; Padraic Mannion, Gearoid McInerney, Aidan Harte; Johnny Coen, David Burke; Joseph Cooney, Joe Canning, Jonathan Glynn; Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, Cathal Mannion
Subs: Niall Burke for Jonathan Glynn (43), Jason Flynn for Cathal Mannion (55), Shane Maloney for David Burke (68).

WATERFORD: Stephen O’Keeffe; Shane Fives, Barry Coughlan, Noel Connors; Kieran Bennett, Tadhg de Búrca, Philip Mahony; Jamie Barron, Kevin Moran; Darragh Fives, Austin Gleeson, Pauric Mahony; Shane Bennett, Michael Walsh, Jake Dillon
Subs: Maurice Shanahan for Shane Bennett (22), Brian O’Halloran for Jake Dillon (48), Tommy Ryan for Michael Walsh (56), Colin Dunford for Jamie Barron (64), Patrick Curran for Kieran Bennett (64).

Ref: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)

Team News

It’s down to the last two in the race for the Liam MacCarthy Cup, with Galway and Waterford set to meet in the final for the first time in Croke Park next Sunday (3.30).

It promises to be quite an occasion at the end of what has been a fantastic season for hurling. The senior final will be preceded by the Electric Ireland minor decider between Cork and Galway (1.15).

Waterford are bidding to win the title for the first time since 1959 while Galway’s last success was in 1988. Waterford played in two All-Ireland finals since their last win but were beaten by Kilkenny on both occasions (1963 and 2008).

Galway have been in seven finals (including one replay) since their last success but won none. They lost to Cork in 1990 and 2005, to Kilkenny in 1993, 2012 (replay) and 2015 and to Tipperary in 2001. They drew with Kilkenny in 2012.

Galway 2-28 Dublin 1-17 (Leinster quarter-final)
Galway 0-33 Offaly 1-11 (Leinster semi-final)
Galway 0-29 Wexford 1-17 (Leinster final)
Galway 0-22 Tipperary 1-18 (All-Ireland semi-final)
Average For: 0-30;
Average Against: 1-16

Galway’s Top Scorers
Joe Canning………..0-37 (0-25 frees, 0-2 ‘65s’, 0-2 s/l)
Conor Cooney……..1-14
Conor Whelan……..0-16
Niall Burke………… 0-09
Joseph Cooney…….0-08 (1f)

Cork 0-23 Waterford 1-15 (Munster semi-final)
Waterford 1-35 Offaly 0-14 (Qualifiers – Round 1)
Waterford 4-23 Kilkenny 2-22 – after extra-time (Qualifiers – Round 2)
Waterford 1-23 Wexford 1-19 (All-Ireland quarter-final)
Waterford 4-19 Cork 0-20 (All-Ireland semi-final)
Average For: 2-24;
Average Against: 1-19

Waterford’s Top Scorers
Pauric Mahony……………. 0-39 (0-27 frees, 0-2 ‘65s’)
Austin Gleeson……………. 1-18 (0-2 frees)
Jamie Barron………………..3-08
Maurice Shanahan……….. 2-09 (0-4 frees)
Kevin Moran………………..1-12

Waterford have won all ten of their championships clashes with Galway. Three were in All-Ireland semi-finals, three quarter-finals, three Munster championship (Galway competed in Munster in 1959-69) and one All-Ireland
2011 – Waterford 2-23 Galway 2-13 (All-Ireland quarter-final)
2009 – Waterford 1-16 Galway 0-18 (All-Ireland quarter-final)
2006 – Waterford 1-25 Galway 2-20 (All-Ireland qualifiers)
1998 – Waterford 1-20 Galway 1-10 (All-Ireland quarter-final)
1966 – Waterford 2-16 Galway 1-9 (Munster championship)
1960 – Waterford 9-8 Galway 4-8 (Munster championship)
1959 – Waterford 7-11 Galway 0-8 (Munster championship)
1957 – Waterford 4-12 Galway 0-11 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1948 – Waterford 3-7 Galway 1-6 (All-Ireland semi-final)
1938 – Waterford 4-8 Galway 3-1 (All-Ireland semi-final)

Galway have lost four and drawn one of their last five All-Ireland final
appearances while Waterford have won one, drawn one and lost three of their
most recent five.

2015: Kilkenny 1-22 Galway 1-18
2012: Kilkenny 3-22 Galway 3-11 (Replay)
2012: Galway 0-19 Kilkenny 2-13 (Draw)
2005: Cork 1-21 Galway 1-16
2001: Tipperary 2-18 Galway 2-15

2008: Kilkenny 3-30 Waterford 1-13
1963: Kilkenny 4-17 Waterford 6-8
1959: Waterford 3-12 Kilkenny 1-10 (Replay)
1959: Waterford 1-17 Kilkenny 5-5 (Draw)
1957: Kilkenny 4-10 Waterford 3-12

Galway 2-22 Waterford 2-19
(Allianz Hurling League Q-Final, 2 April 2017)
Waterford led by 0-15 to 1-9 at half-time in Pearse Stadium and increased their lead to ten points in the third quarter before Galway staged a great rally and ended up winning by three points.
GALWAY: C Callanan; J Hanbury, Daithi Burke, A Harte (0-2); P Mannion (0-1), G McInerney, P Killeen; A Tuohy, J Coen; J Cooney, J Canning (1-10, 1-0 pen, 0-4 frees), David Burke (0-1); C Whelan (0-3), C Cooney (1-0), C
Mannion (0-2).
Subs: T Monaghan (0-1) for Hanbury; N Burke (0-2) for J Cooney; S Moloney for C Cooney.

WATERFORD: I O’Regan; K Bennett, S McNulty, S Fives; C Gleeson, T DeBurca, S Keating (0-1); K Moran (0-2), M O’Brien (0-1); Stephen Bennett (0-1), S Roche (0-3), DJ Foran (0-2);T Ryan (0-2), M Shanahan (0-6, 0-4 frees), T
Devine (2-1).
Subs: Shane Bennett for Foran; N Connors for Keating; M Walsh for O’Brien,; B O’Halloran for Ryan; P Mahony for Roche.

– Galway’s only defeat in 12 Allianz League and championship games this year came in Round 2 of the Division 1B campaign when they were defeated by Wexford by 1-21 to 3-13 in Pearse Stadium last February.
– Waterford have won seven and lost four of their eleven Allianz League and championship games this year.
– Derek McGrath is in his fourth season as Waterford manager. Their championship record under him reads: Played 18, Won 9, Drew 2, Lost 7.
– Micheál Donoghue is in his second season as Galway manager, with his championship record reading: Played 9, Won 7, Lost 2.
– Waterford are bidding to become the sixth team to win the All-Ireland after losing in the provincial championships. The five who previously achieved it were: Clare 2013; Kilkenny 2012; Tipperary 2010; Cork 2004
and Offaly 1998.
– Referee, Fergal Horgan (Tipperary) will take charge of an All-Ireland senior final for the first time