Leinster SHC: Galway edge out Carlow
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship
GALWAY 1-24 CARLOW 1-18
By Cian O’Connell at Pearse Stadium
The worry was genuine, the Carlow threat real, but Galway did enough to survive in Salthill. Just about.
Carlow contributed handsomely to a match that was always interesting because Colm Bonnar’s outfit were primed for a battle.
Triumphs in the Christy Ring and Joe McDonagh Cups hinted at Carlow’s promise, but they delivered a most defiant display to frighten Galway in the west.
With eight minutes remaining Carlow, so spirited throughout, only trailed by a goal ensuring the locals, minus several key injured players, were under real pressure.
Critical points from Conor Whelan, Niall Burke (free), and Jason Flynn eased the nerves as Galway eventually closed out the deal to take the full complement of spoils.
It was a first half featuring plenty of positives for Carlow, but the underdogs still trailed at the interval by 0-14 to 0-8.
Galway, eager to move the sliotar quickly between the lines with a sharp stick passing approach, showed glimpses of their ability.
From 21 opening period shots Galway mined 14 scores and it was sufficient to ensure they departed at the break armed with a reasonable advantage.
Carlow had settled impressively edging 0-4 to 0-3 ahead in the 12th minute when Marty Kavanagh rifled over a free.
That represented a satisfactory start for Carlow, but Galway’s response was critical with Micheal Donoghue’s outfit landing seven of the next eight points to seize the initiative.
Some of the Galway efforts were splendid with Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, and Jack Grealish nailing important efforts from distance for the 2017 All Ireland champions.
Kavanagh, though, continued to dash about craving involvement, but a neat Brian Concannon score meant Galway moved six ahead at the turnaround.
Within 17 seconds of the restart Conor Cooney mined an opportunistic goal steering Galway nine clear and into a seemingly commanding position.
Admirably Carlow refused to wilt with the delightful Marty Kavanagh clipping a free before crating space for Chris Nolan, who made the Galway net dance in the 38th minute.
A subsequent Jack Kavanagh point had the gap reduced down to four and Carlow were gaining in belief and momentum.
Until the end it stayed hard fought and competitive with Kavanagh spearheading the Carlow revival mission.
In the 62th minute Nolan rifled over a point with the margin at 1-21 to 1-18 prior to late insurance scores from Whelan, Niall Burke, and Flynn.
Kilkenny are next on the agenda for Carlow at Netwatch Cullen Park. Galway host Wexford at Pearse Stadium on May 26. The summer has well and truly commenced.
Scorers for Galway: Niall Burke 0-6 (6fs), Conor Cooney 1-3, Conor Whelan 0-4, Cathal Mannion and Jason Flynn 0-3 each, Jack Grealish, Padraic Mannion, Brian Concannon, David Burke and Davy Glennon 0-1 each.
Scorers for Carlow: Marty Kavanagh 0-11 (6fs), Chris Nolan 1-2, Seamus Murphy 0-2, Jack Kavanagh, James Doyle, and John Michael Nolan 0-1 each.
GALWAY: Colm Callanan; Jack Grealish, Ronan Burke, Aidan Harte; Padraig Mannion, Gearoid McInerney, Kevin Hussey; David Burke, Cathal Mannion; Niall Burke, Jason Flynn, Brian Concannon; Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, Davy Glennon.
Subs: Johnny Coen for Glennon (50), Paul Killeen for R Burke (54), John Hanbury for Hussey (54), Sean Loftus for Grealish (68).
CARLOW: Brian Tracey; Kevin McDonald, Paul Doyle, Michael Doyle; Eoin Nolan, David English, Richard Coady; Jack Kavanagh, Sean Whelan; John M Nolan, James Doyle, Edward Byrne; Marty Kavanagh, Seamus Murphy, Chris Nolan.
Subs: Diarmuid Byrne for Whelan (50), Ted Joyce for JM Nolan (63), Ross Smithers for J Kavanagh (65), John Nolan for E Byrne (68).
REFEREE: Colm Lyons (Cork).