All-Ireland SHC Q-F: Galway show great Harte to beat Tipp
All-Ireland SHC Quarter-Final
GALWAY 3-23 TIPPERARY 2-24
By John Harrington at the LIT Gaelic Grounds
Aidan Harte was Galway’s unlikely hero as his 66th minute goal proved the key score of this pulsating All-Ireland Hurling Quarter-Final.
It was a score worthy to win a game too as substitutes Jason Flynn and Adrian Tuohy did well to move the ball across the field to the defender who had drifted unmarked into space.
The corner-back could have taken a handy point, but instead he backed himself to go for goal and bounced a fiercely struck low shot into the right-hand corner of the net.
Tipperary were now trailing by one point and had been reduced to 14 men by the dismissal of defender Cathal Barrett for a second yellow card on 52 minutes, so they were in a very difficult position.
To their credit they battled right to the end and it was only when Daithi Burke claimed a high ball that landed into the Galway square deep in injury time that the Tribesmen could finally be sure of victory.
These two teams have a habit of going toe to toe and slugging it out whenever they meet, and it was Tipperary who landed the first haymaker of the match when Seamus Callanan goaled on four minutes.
Jason Forde hit a high hopeful ball across the 21 yard line under pressure and as Callanan collected it, his marker Daithí Burke slipped at the worst time possible from his point of view.
A predator like Callanan was always going to exploit a situation like that, and he drove towards goal and finished with typical aplomb.
Noel McGrath pointed a minute later and Tipperary were 1-2 to 0-2 to the good and entitled to be satisfied with how they started the game.
From there, though, Galway started to really get to grips with the contest, particularly around the middle third of the field, which was due in no small part to their ability to retain possession from puck-outs better than Tipperary could.
They were level by the 11th minute when Man of the Match Cathal Mannion turned Niall O’Meara and blasted to the net from a tight angle.
A second Galway goal came 10 minutes later when Conor Whelan danced past Ronan Maher and put through Brian Concannon who finished emphatically to push Galway 2-5 to 1-5 ahead.
But just when it looked like Galway were getting a grip on things, Tipperary produced their best 15 minutes of the championship coming up to half-time as they outscored Galway by 1-8 to 0-3.
Noel McGrath had really thundered into the match by now and would finish with four first half points to his name, while moving Brendan Maher into a sweeping role improved their defensive shape.
Alan Flynn and Michael Breen also took control of the midfield battle, hitting three points between them, and suddenly Tipperary were in a state of flow we hadn’t seen since the 2019 championship.
They’d already drawn level when Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher gave them a major fillip with their second goal of the match on 32 minutes.
Brendan Maher picked out Jake Morris with a nice angled delivery and his shot was parried by Éanna Murphy into the path of the onrushing Bonner.
The Lorrha man fluffed his initial attempt, but was fortunate to have a second bite of the cherry when Shane Cooney lost his footing and this time he made no mistake.
Further points from Breen and O’Meara meant the defending All-Ireland champions were in a decent position by half-time, leading by 2-13 to 2-9.
They stretched that advanced to six points early in the second-half, but Galway hung in there thanks to the accurate free-taking of Joe Canning and some quality point-taking from Cathal Mannion and Conor Whelan.
Even before Barrett’s red-card it was the Tribesmen who were on the front foot as the once six-point gap was down to a more manageable two.
But in a match of fine margins having a numerical advantage for over 20 minutes was certainly a big factor in Galway’s favour.
They drew level by the 63rd minute when Canning followed up a sublime sideline cut with another free, but then Tipperary showed great heart to surge clear again thanks to a fine Willie Connors point and a huge Ronan Maher free.
The pivotal play of the game came when Paddy Cadell charged from the Tipperary defence but his attempted clearance was snuffed by tenacious Galway tackling.
From there Galway moved the ball across field and Harte surely got himself disbarred from the corner-back’s union for life with that brilliant finish for the vital goal.
Galway will be on an emotional high after dethroning the reigning champions in this manner.
Whether they can physically cope with a fresher Limerick team in next Sunday’s All-Ireland SHC semi-final is less certain.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-14 (12f, 1 sideline), Cathal Mannion 1-3, Brian Concannon 1-0, Aidan Harte 1-0, Conor Cooney 0-1, Conor Whelan 0-1, Sean Loftus 0-1, Jason Flynn 0-1, Joseph Cooney 0-1, Johnny Coen 0-1,
Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 0-6, Seamus Callanan 1-2 (1f) (5f), Noel McGrath 0-4, Patrick Maher 1-0, Alan Flynn 0-2, Michael Breen 0-2, Dan McCormack 0-2, Niall O’Meara 0-1, Jake Morris 0-1, Barry Heffernan 0-1, Willie Connors 0-1, Ronan Maher 0-1 (f), Brian Hogan 0-1 (f)
GALWAY: Éanna Murphy; Aidan Harte, Daithí Burke, Shane Cooney; Fintan Burke, Gearoid McInerney, Joseph Cooney; Padraic Mannion, Johnny Coen; Joe Canning, Cathal Mannion, David Burke; Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, Brian Concannon. Subs: Jason Flynn for Johnny Coen (ht), Adrian Tuohey for David Burke (ht), Sean Loftus for Fintan Burke (58) , Evan Niland for Conor Cooney (58), Darren Morrissey for Shane Cooney (71)
TIPPERARY: Brian Hogan; Cathal Barrett, Ronan Maher, Brendan Maher; Barry Heffernan, Pádraic Maher, Niall O’Meara; Alan Flynn, Michael Breen; Dan McCormack, Noel McGrath, Patrick Maher; Jason Forde, Seamus Callanan, Jake Morris. Subs: Willie Connors for Patrick Maher (50), John McGrath for Noel McGrath (53), Paddy Cadell for Niall O’Meara (58), Paul Flynn for Jason Forde (65), Mark Kehoe for Dan McCormack (73)
Ref: Johnny Murphy (Limerick)