Allianz HL Final: Flynn stars in Galway triumph
Allianz Hurling League Final
GALWAY 3-21 TIPPERARY 0-14
By John Harrington at the Gaelic Grounds
Galway blew Tipperary to smithereens with an explosive shock and awe performance in today’s Allianz Hurling League Final at the Gaelic Grounds.
A match that was expected to be an evenly balanced affair was anything but as Galway both out-hurled and out-fought a strangely listless looking Tipperary team.
The Galway backs held the much vaunted Tipperary attack to just five points from play, and their forwards tore apart the normally self-assured Premier County defence.
The winning margin of 16 points in no way flattered the Tribesmen, who could have piled further misery on the reigning All-Ireland champions had their finishing been more clinical.
Both teams were guilty of hitting some poor wides in the first half particularly, and with the sliotar constantly going out of play the game struggled to burst into any sort of life early on.
But as the progressed a pattern started to emerge, and it was one of Galway dominance.
Their half-backs won almost every ball that came down their throats, and on the few occasions that it was hit beyond them Daithi Burke was there to hoover it up.
Tipperary’s star-studded attack was struggling to make any sort of impression, and they failed to score a point from play until the 15th minute through Noel McGrath.
That tied the game up at three-points apiece, but thereafter Galway moved up through the gears and pulled away from Tipperary.
David Burke was hurling a lot of ball, and Joe Canning and Conor Whelan were both looking sharp whenever they won possession.
They both hit three points from play in that first half, and Tipperary would have been in serious trouble had Jason Flynn shown similar accuracy rather than hit three poor wides.
He wasn’t the only Galway player who showed a lack of composure in front of the posts, and by half-time they had racked up 11 wides.
They’d also scored 11 points, though, which was enough to give them a six point lead over an increasingly disjointed looking Tipperary by the half-time break.
Things went from bad to worse for Tipperary after little over a minute of the second half when Jason Flynn finally zeroed his sights and fired home a superb goal for Galway.
The Tipp management responded by making a number of positional switches to try to spark their team into life, but it amounted to little more than rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic.
Galway’s dominance grew and grew, they were hungrier for the ball than Tipperary, and their physical dominance in all areas of the pitch was stark.
Points from Whelan and Canning (2) kept the Galway score ticking over, and then Flynn struck his second-goal of the day to end the game as a contest once and for all.
Just like for his first goal he burst past Michael Cahill and left the Tipperary corner-back for dead and then also rounded James Barry before finishing clinically.
The rest of the game was a Galway procession with Tipperary unable to muster any sort of fight-back, and the men in maroon added further gloss to the score-board when Cathal Mannion raced through to score their third goal late on.
In all aspects, this was a highly impressive performance from Galway that anoints them not just as League champions, but deadly serious contenders for the All-Ireland title.
They have such a potent mixture of physicality and skill that on days like today when they pull it all together they’re a close to irresistible proposition.
As for Tipperary, the temptation might be to write off this defeat as just one of those bad days at the office, but Michael Ryan is unlikely to take that approach.
Some of his players will have a lot to prove in training between now and May 21 if they want a chance at redemption by starting the Munster Quarter-Final against Cork.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-9 (3fs, 2 ’65), Jason Flynn 2-1, Conor Whelan 0-5, Cathal Mannion 1-1, Aidan Harte 0-2, Johnny Coen 0-1, David Burke 0-1, Thomas Monaghan 0-1.
Scorers for Tipperary: John McGrath 0-6 (5fs), Michael Breen 0-2, Noel McGrath 0-2, Ronan Maher 0-2 (2fs), Brendan Maher 0-1, John O’Dwyer 0-1 (f).
GALWAY: Colm Callanan; Adrian Tuohy, Daithi Burke, Paul Killeen; Pádraic Mannion, Gearóid McInerney, Aidan Harte; Johnny Coen, David Burke; Jason Flynn, Joe Canning, Joseph Cooney; Conor Whelan, Cathal Mannion, Niall Burke.
Subs: Jonathan Glynn for Joe Canning (61), John Hanbury for Daithi Burke (65), Cyril Donnellan for Niall Burke (67), Thomas Monaghan for Jason Flynn (68), Sean Loftus for Paul Killeen (70).
TIPPERARY: Darren Gleeson; Cathal Barrett, James Barry, Michael Cahill; Seamus Kennedy, Ronan Maher, Pádraic Maher; Brendan Maher, Jason Forde; Dan McCormack, Michael Breen, Steven O’Brien; Noel McGrath, John O’Dwyer, John McGrath.
Subs: Niall O’Meara for Steven O’Brien (32), Patrick Maher for John O’Dwyer (45), Paul Flynn for Jason Forde (59), Tomás Hamill for Michael Cahill (60), Daire Quinn for Noel McGrath (66).
REFEREE: Colm Lyons (Cork).