Mícheál Donoghue: 'It was an epic encounter'
By Cian O'Connell
Ultimately a gripping game was decided by a flash of class and inspiration from Joe Canning. The gifted Portumna attacker nailed a last gasp point from under the Cusack Stand to earn Galway victory.
It was a glorious and match winning act with Galway manager Mícheál Donoghue acknowledging the beauty of Canning’s contribution. “Look when when you come out of a game like that, winning by a point, I said outside to somebody, when he gets a ball in that position there is a great chance it is going to go over,” Donoghue reflected.
“I think in big games like that big moments are defined by your big players and he really stood up to the mark.”
That was most certainly the case. With the issue delicately poised, Galway survived to register a 10th straight Allianz League and Championship win in 2017.
Donoghue was asked how he was feeling following such an exciting tussle. “I suppose the residing one is just relief from my perspective,” Donoghue stated.
“In preparation you are just hoping that like the last two years it didn't turn into a shootout again. I just think it was an epic encounter, we are just very fortunate to come out on the right side of it.”
For the third year in a row at this exact stage it went down to the wire. “I just think both teams draw the best out of each other,” Donoghue remarked.
“At half-time we said to the lads that we were happy enough with where we were, we were within touching distance.
“There were a few things and areas we thought we were down on, but we just pushed the boys to try to improve on those. We challenged them on workrate, attitude, and desire, I thought they showed that in abundance.”
Trailing by a point at the interval, Donoghue was satisfied by how Galway responded when demanding questions were being posed. “I thought we were doing fine, the goal was probably a defensive mistake, but in fairness to John McGrath he stuck it well, it kept them in the game, but we were happy enough,” Donoghue added.
“We just felt there were a few areas we needed to improve on. Our workrate and tackle count was down so we challenged them to up it, I think they did that in the second half.”
There was no shortage of Galway grit, but Canning's crafty finish steered the maroon and white team into next month's decider.