2023 Electric Ireland GAA Hurling All-Ireland Minor Championship Semi-Final

Galway 3-18 Cork 1-10

Report by Stephen Barry at FBD Semple Stadium for GAA.ie

A sixth consecutive double-digits win elevated Galway into an All-Ireland minor final against neighbours Clare, powered by 1-11 from Aaron Niland.

Cork were dogged in their chase and Barry O’Flynn put a first goal past Galway keeper Shane Murray in almost five hours of hurling, but the Westerners were never rattled. They closed it out with a goal from substitute Harry Holmes.

The first half was nip and tuck, with more wides than scores in the first quarter.

Points from Barry Walsh, Jayden Casey, Finn O’Brien, and O’Flynn had Cork a point ahead after 16 minutes, but Galway outscored them by 2-5 to 0-1 from there to the break.

Star man Niland started with two wides from placed balls but he demonstrated impressive resolve to settle himself thereafter. His third pointed free brought them level.

Galway kept patient with their short-passing game and they began to work goal chances from the space created. Niland, with a shortened grip, got a shot off in a phone box, but Fionn Murphy was equal to it.

Then, Jason Rabbitte drifted inside and after initially falling to the ground, he found his feet to collect Seán Murphy’s delivery and produce a dizzying turn to allow the finish.

And after a Ben Walsh pointed response, Niland picked up on a loose ball, stepped away from two pursuers, and rifled a bullet to the far corner.

A Conor Gilligan effort, tiptoeing along the sideline, and two more Niland frees padded their half-time lead out to nine, 2-8 to 0-5.

Kieran ‘Fraggy’ Murphy brought on Seán O’Callaghan and Conor McCarthy (Glen Rovers) at the break and they made an impact. The latter was involved in the breakthrough goal in the 39th minute.

He fed Barry Walsh who charged through two tacklers before offloading to O’Brien. His initial shot was blocked on the line by Thomas Blake but O’Flynn followed in to finish.

Casey opened up Galway with a show of pace but Murray saved, although it was called back for a free. Walsh tapped that over and added another from play. Suddenly, the deficit was three, 2-9 to 1-9.

Galway would outscore them by 1-9 to 0-1 from there to the finish.

A HawkEye point by Colm Burke settled the Tribesmen as they clipped the next 1-4, culminating in a goal from Holmes, created by Ed O’Reilly.

That put 11 in it although Cork kept plugging away, with two close-range Barry Walsh frees saved and Murray denying Brian Lynch too.

Scorers for Galway: Aaron Niland 1-11 (0-10fs), Jason Rabbitte, Harry Holmes 1-1 each; Conor Gilligan 0-2; Cullen Killeen, Colm Burke, Michael Fallon 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: Barry O’Flynn 1-2, Barry Walsh 0-5 (3fs) Ben Walsh, Jayden Casey, Finn O’Brien 0-1 each.

Galway: Shane Murray; Thomas Blake, Seán Murphy, Gearóid King; Dylan Quirke, Donnacha Campbell, Ed O’Reilly; Michael Burke, Cullen Killeen; Conor Gilligan, Colm Burke, Jason Rabbitte; Brian Callanan, Darragh Counihan, Aaron Niland.
Subs: Harry Holmes for Callanan (39), Michael Fallon for Campbell (50), Stephen Keane for M Burke (55), Jonah Donnellan for Blake (58), Eoghan Mulleady for Killeen (59).

Cork: Fionn Murphy; Cillian O’Callaghan, Darragh McCarthy, Cárthaigh Cronin; Johnny Galvin, Ben Walsh, David O’Leary; James O’Leary, Barry O’Flynn; Johnny Murphy, Jayden Casey, Zack Biggane; Ronan Dooley, Barry Walsh, Finn O’Brien.
Subs: Seán O’Callaghan for Galvin (h-t), Conor McCarthy (Glen Rovers) for J Murphy (HT), Oier O’Callaghan for J O’Leary (49), Patrick Walsh for Dooley (53), Brian Lynch for O’Flynn (54).

Referee: Thomas Gleeson (Dublin).