JOE CANNING FIRED 0-11 as Galway qualified for their first All-Ireland senior hurling appearance in seven years when they defeated Cork in this afternoon’s semi-final clash in Croke Park. The Portumna attacker was to the fore in helping Anthony Cunningham’s side triumph and they will now go forward to the decider on September 9th where they will face either Tipperary or Kilkenny as they seek to claim the county’s first crown since 1988 at this level.
Cork began brightly to lead 0-4 to 0-2 after eleven minutes with Paudie O’Sullivan showing up well. However Galway drew level with Canning, James Regan and David Burke impressing and by the 25th minute, the teams were tied at 0-7 apiece. The remainder of the half was keenly contested with Cork surging 0-9 to 0-7 in front before Galway drew level. While David Burke nudged them ahead before the interval, it was a free by Patrick Horgan in the 35th minute for Cork that tied the teams at 0-11 apiece at the break.
The teams swapped points early in the second-half with Canning and Horgan converting frees but then Galway made a decisive burst as they registered five of the next six points to insert daylight between the teams. Niall Burke and Canning excelled during this phase of dominance, and their lead could have been greater only for Cork net minder Anthony Nash to produce a brilliant point-blank save to deny Burke in the 52nd minute.
Trailing by four points at this juncture Cork looked in serious trouble but they managed to claw back the advantage to be only two points adrift, 0-18 to 0-16, by the 57th minute. The action was getting frenetic at this stage and Cork nearly grabbed a goal when Patrick Cronin’s snap shot flew just over the bar. Despite the efforts of Shane O’Neill and Tom Kenny in the Cork defence, they could not draw closer.
Galway’s rearguard was magnificent with Johnny Coen, Niall Donoghue and Fergal Moore all giving standout performances. Regan and Nash traded points but Galway kicked for home in style with the Portumna trio of Andy Smith, Canning and Damien Hayes firing over the crucial scores that enabled them to pull clear at the final whistle.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-11 (0-5f, 0-2 ’65), Damien Hayes 0-4, David Burke, Niall Burke, James Regan 0-2 each, Andy Smith 0-1.
Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 0-7 (0-6f), Paudie O’Sullivan 0-3, Luke O’Farrell, Jamie Coughlan, Cian McCarthy, Darren Sweetnam, Anthony Nash (0-1f), Patrick Cronin, Cathal Naughton 0-1 each.
GALWAY: 1. James Skehill (Cappataggle); 4. Fergal Moore (Turloughmore), 3. Kevin Hynes (Sarsfield’s), 7. Johnny Coen (Loughrea); 2. David Collins (Liam Mellowes), 6. Tony Og Regan (Rahoon-Newcastle), 5. Niall Donoghue (Kilbeacanty); 8. Iarla Tannian (Ardrahan), 9. Andy Smith (Portumna); 10. David Burke (St. Thomas’s), 11. Niall Burke (Oranmore-Maree), 21. James Regan (St Thomas); 13. Conor Cooney (St. Thomas’s), 14. Joe Canning (Portumna), 15. Damien Hayes (Portumna).
Subs: 23. Davy Glennon (Mullagh) for Conor Cooney (54), 12. Cyril Donnellan (Padraig Pearses) for James Regan (62), 22. Jonathan Glynn (Ardrahan) for Niall Burke (66), 17. Joseph Cooney (Sarsfields) for David Burke (72).
CORK: 1. Anthony Nash (Kanturk); 3. Stephen Mc Donnell (Glen Rovers), 4. Brian Murphy (Bride Rovers), 2. Shane O Neill (Bishopstown); 5. Tom Kenny (Grenagh), 6. Eoin Cadogan (Douglas), 7. Sean Óg Ó hAilpin (Na Piarsaigh); 8. Pa Cronin (Bishopstown), 9. Lorcan McLoughlin (Kanturk); 11. Cian McCarthy (Sarsfields), 12. Jamie Coughlan (Newtownshandrum), 13. Paudie O’Sullivan (Cloyne ); 10. Conor Lehane (Midleton), 14. Luke O’Farrell (Midleton), 15. Patrick Horgan Glen Rovers).
Subs: 24. Cathal Naughton (Newtownshandrum) for Cian McCarthy (half-time), 22. Darren Sweetnam (Dohenys) for Conor Lehane (45), 26. Stephen Moylan (Douglas) for Luke O’Farrell (51), 25. Niall McCarthy (Carrigtwohill) for Jamie Coughlan (54), 23. Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields) for Lorcan McLoughlin (68).
Referee: Brian Gavin (Offaly)