D1A: Galway in relegation play-off after Déise draw
ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION IA: WATERFORD 0-24 GALWAY 1-21
By Tomás McCarthy at Walsh Park
Gavin O’Brien nailed an injury time equaliser to secure second place in Division 1A for Waterford and consign Galway to a relegation play-off at Walsh Park.
In a pulsating encounter, the visitors nosed in front over the closing stages with four points in succession before O’Brien tied the contest for a fourth occasion. Man of the match Shane Bennett almost snatched victory but his late effort veered wide. The Ballysaggart teenager excited the 5,029 crowd with six points from play over the seventy.
Derek McGrath settled on ten changes from the loss to Dublin a week previous. Micheál Donoghue made four switches as John Hanbury, Adrian Tuohy, David Collins and Eanna Burke all came into the team.
A new-look home side bedded down instantly with Tom Devine and Colm Roche striking points within 60 seconds. Shane Bennett hit two more from acute angles and Maurice Shanahan converted two frees as Waterford pushed 0-6 to 0-2 ahead.
Joe Canning kept Galway in touch with two coolly taken points. Bennett grabbed the score of the half as he whizzed past three defenders and split the uprights.
On 26 minutes, James Skehill dived full length to keep out Bennett’s blistering shot. Waterford held a four-point advantage approaching the break with Shanahan accurate from five placed balls. Brian O’Halloran also showed well and snapped a brace of points.
Niall Burke and Canning trimmed the deficit to two. A minute before the half time whistle, Cathal Mannion and David Burke combined to release Niall Burke who blasted past Ian O’Regan. That goal sent the Tribesmen into the lead for the very first time (1-10 to 0-12).
Canning put Galway two up on the resumption. Waterford answered with the next three courtesy of O’Halloran, Shanahan and Bennett to establish a slender advantage. David Burke lashed just over Ian O’Regan’s crossbar when he was picked out by Canning to level matters.
Waterford struck another dazzling spell with points from Shanahan, Thomas Ryan and Bennett. Galway centre forward Niall Burke struck 1-3 and made sure that the away side stayed within a score. Substitute Michael Kearney made it 0-23 to 1-17 on 65 minutes after hitting his second from play.
Donoghue’s charges reeled off four points on the bounce, two from Mannion and one apiece by Conor Whelan and captain David Burke. Pauric Mahony entered the fray to a huge reception on 68 minutes to give the Déise a timely lift. O’Brien had the final say of an exciting seventy minutes with Mahony providing the assist.
Scorers for Waterford: M Shanahan 0-9 (8fs), S Bennett 0-6, B O’Halloran 0-3, M Kearney 0-2, G O’Brien 0-1, T Devine 0-1, T Ryan 0-1, C Roche 0-1
*Scorers for Galway: *J Canning 0-6 (4fs), N Burke 1-3, D Burke 0-2, C Mannion 0-2, C Whelan 0-2, E Burke 0-2, D Glennon 0-2, A Harte 0-1, J Flynn 0-1
WATERFORD: *I O’Regan; S McNulty, S Roche, C Gleeson; K Moran, T De Burca, G O’Brien; A Gleeson, S O’Sullivan; M Shanahan, S Bennett, T Devine; B O’Halloran, T Ryan, C Roche. *Subs: M Kearney for Gleeson (48), J Dillon for C Roche (55), Philip Mahony for O’Sullivan (61), Pauric Mahony for Ryan (68).
GALWAY: *J Skehill; P Hoban, J Hanbury, F Moore; A Tuohy, D Burke, D Collins; A Harte, A Smith; J Flynn, N Burke, J Canning; D Glennon, C Mannion, E Burke. *Subs: R Burke for Hoban (46), C Whelan for Smith (47), R Cummins for E Burke (57), S Moloney for Flynn (67)
Referee: B Gavin (Offaly)