All-Ireland SHC: Gritty Galway advance

All-Ireland SHC Quarter-Final – Galway 1-20 Tipperary 1-18

By Stephen Barry at TUS Gaelic Grounds

Galway showed the greater edge to grind out their own slice of history with a third consecutive Championship win over Tipperary to send them into a semi-final rematch with Limerick.

Galway blazed 18 wides and saw a hat-trick of goals saved by Rhys Shelly, but still refused to be headed by Tipp from the fourth minute onwards, with Conor Whelan scoring 1-4 and threatening so much more.

Liam Cahill’s side produced a replica of their first-half no-show against Waterford as their starting full-forward line failed to score. Although John McGrath’s goal put them within a point, they never truly looked like saving their Championship prospects in front of 34,180 fans at the Gaelic Grounds.

Tipperary were blessed to go in just three points down at half-time. Galway’s execution was flawed, too.

Tipp chose Dan McCormack to tackle Whelan, with Cathal Barrett out on Brian Concannon, but they reversed those roles as Whelan slipped both markers for back-to-back goal chances.

Meanwhile, Galway deployed Seán Linnane to track Noel McGrath all around the Ennis Road. Although the Tipp captain got off three early shots, they never adjusted to the wind with each drifting wide.

The sides evenly shared the first 12 scores before Galway began to sense Tipp were there for the taking.

Séamus Callanan picked up on a giveaway puck-out but his run for goal ended with a Gearóid McInerney block. From there, all the rest of the goal chances were Galway’s.

Whelan slipped inside twice, once forcing a fine save from Shelly but having to settle for a pointed Evan Niland free from the next.

Galway went on a four-point streak, with two each from Niland and Whelan, although Shelly again saved Tipp when deflecting the latter Whelan effort over with his trailing leg.

Barrett then made a crucial sliding tackle to sweep the sliotar away from Whelan with the goal gaping.

A Jason Forde free (his fifth point) left Tipp just three back, 0-10 to 0-7.

But Cahill’s half-time team talk was thrown to the wind when Tipp conceded a goal straight from the throw-in. Just 20 seconds had passed by the time Whelan had taken advantage of Barrett’s slip and on this occasion, he made no mistake to dispatch his seventh goal of this campaign.

Michael Breen took his turn as Tipp’s third defender seconded onto Whelan.

Gearóid O’Connor and Conor Bowe were drafted in for last week’s hat-trick hero Mark Kehoe and Callanan as Tipp tried to reel in Galway.

O’Connor and Alan Tynan split the posts before the latter skittled a shot across the Galway goal from a tight angle.

But when Cianan Fahy (0-2), Daithí Burke, and Whelan reeled off the next four points, the gap was eight.

Tipp responded with four of their own, from Forde (0-2), Ronan Maher, and Johnny Ryan as they began to dig in.

Somehow, on 62 minutes, Tipp were back within one. Bowe delivered the ball in behind; Forde couldn’t connect but John McGrath did with a sweet groundstroke roofed to the net.

Tom Monaghan came off the bench to land two points, but Séamus Kennedy produced two of his own in reply.

They could’ve killed it when Tipp were caught playing around at the back but Shelly bailed out his defenders with a sprawling save from Fahy.

It was as if Niland was going unmarked as he got onto the world of ball down the right wing in the closing stages, landing a point, sending another wide, winning a free he converted himself, and laying on Monaghan’s third point to clinch it.

Limerick, welcoming hosts and interested observers, lie in wait next.

Scorers for Galway: Evan Niland 0-8 (7fs), Conor Whelan 1-4, Tom Monaghan 0-3, Cianan Fahy 0-2, Daithí Burke, Joseph Cooney, Ronan Glennon 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 0-10 (8fs), John McGrath 1-0, Alan Tynan, Séamus Kennedy 0-2 each, Michael Breen, Ronan Maher, Gearóid O’Connor, Johnny Ryan 0-1 each.

GALWAY: Éanna Murphy; Darren Morrissey, Gearóid McInerney, Jack Grealish; Seán Linnane, Daithí Burke, Pádraic Mannion; Joseph Cooney, Ronan Glennon; Brian Concannon, Cianan Fahy, Cathal Mannion; Conor Whelan, Kevin Cooney, Evan Niland.

Subs: Tom Monaghan for Glennon (49), Conor Cooney for Concannon (55), Jason Flynn for K Cooney (62), Fintan Burke for McInerney (64), Liam Collins for Fahy (70+3).

TIPPERARY: Rhys Shelly; Michael Breen, Eoghan Connolly, Dan McCormack; Bryan O’Mara, Ronan Maher, Cathal Barrett; Conor Stakelum, Alan Tynan; Séamus Kennedy, Jason Forde, Noel McGrath; Jake Morris, Séamus Callanan, Mark Kehoe.

Subs: Gearóid O’Connor for Callanan (HT), Conor Bowe for Kehoe (HT), Johnny Ryan for Stakelum (50), John McGrath for N McGrath (53), Jack Ryan for Tynan (70+1).

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow).